7 Low-Cost, High-Impact Resources to Make the Most of your L&D Budget: Business Edition

Learn to use your L&D budget more efficiently with our 7 picks for books, courses and other resources centered around the topics of business & management.

Marian Vazquez
July 15, 2018

Organizations expect their employees to be the best of the best. They want their people to use their best abilities so that they can make valuable contributions to the business. Employees, for their part, usually seek to feel both secure and challenged, but most of all valued at their jobs.

According to BlessingWhite’s 2017 report on engagement in the workplace, these two perspectives cannot be mutually exclusive. One of the key ways of aligning both your organization and your employees’ goals is to create an overall culture of engagement.

It is well known that investing in your people is an absolute key to favor employee engagement in your organization. But don’t fret: You don’t need to spend a fortune out of your company’s budget in order to keep your employees happy and engaged.

Every organization is unique, and some cannot afford to assign large budgets for Learning & Development. Whether you own a small startup trying to make the most of every penny, or a large-scale corporation applying important cost reduction measures, you may be faced with a limited L&D budget.

But should you sacrifice having a culture of engagement amongst your employees simply because of budget restrictions?

Investing in your people’s growth and continuous learning is a key factor in ensuring employee engagement and retention; therefore, it is key to the success of every organization.

If your employees don’t feel supported and encouraged to continue learning and improving themselves, they will feel more inclined to leave. According to an article published by The Houston Chronicle, higher turnover leads to additional expenses, low workplace morale and instability, which is why this situation should be avoided at all costs. It is thus clear that not investing in your people isn’t an option.

Luckily, the possibilities are practically endless for companies looking to offer high-quality opportunities for their people, without going completely off budget.

We believe the following resources could have a really positive impact on your organization, at a great value. Based on our own experience, we’ve concluded that these resources have the most potential to help your employees, regardless of their area of work, and most importantly, without sucking the life out of your company’s wallet.

All About Business

In this particular article, we have narrowed down our recommendations to resources centered around the topics of business and management.

We strongly believe that many 21st-century professionals specializing in different areas of knowledge have a growing interest in knowing more about business management. They are eager to educate themselves about the best practices in this area, including knowing more about successful business models and philosophies, as well as topics such as leadership and entrepreneurship.

You may want tips on how to maximize your sales, or on what the best strategies are to become a motivating leader who inspires others to strive for success. The following 7 resources will shed a light on all of these topics, and more.

1. Book: “Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” by Patty McCord

Included in The Washington Post’s list of 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018, this revolutionary book challenges traditional human resources practices. According to the book summary, Patty McCord has wide experience in people management at companies such as Netflix, which has allowed her to provide useful insight into how to successfully hire the best. She firmly believes in favoring a culture of radical honesty in the workplace, and shows readers how to apply this philosophy in order to achieve high business productivity and profitability.

Available on:

Amazon US: $9.36 (Kindle), $17.67 (Hardcover)*

Amazon UK: £11.46 (Paperback), £15.10 (Hardcover)*

2. Book: “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz is the co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and, as stated in the book’s summary, “one of Silicon Valley's most respected and experienced entrepreneurs.” In this book, he offers a valuable, insightful and witty account on his business journey, providing practical and honest advice for any manager or leader facing the challenges that an entrepreneurship entails.

According to Amazon, the book has had extremely positive reviews by authorities like The Economist and the Business Insider; even Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated: “Ben’s experience and expertise make him one of the most important leaders not just in Silicon Valley, but in the global knowledge economy. For anyone interested in building, growing, or leading a great company, this book is an incredibly valuable resource and a funny and insightful read.”

Available on:

Amazon US: $11.49 (Kindle), $16.18 (Hardcover)*

Amazon UK: £13.60 (Hardcover)*

3. Online Course: “Leadership: Practical Leadership Skills”

This best-seller course on Udemy will help you acquire practical management skills, such as delegating tasks, and applying strategies to empower and motivate your team, while increasing efficiency at the same time. No previous experience or knowledge in management is required, so this course is an ideal way to start your path as a manager.

Available on:

Udemy: $89.99 (Often subject to massive discounts of over 90% off)

4. Book: “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't” by Simon Sinek

This book is a New York Times bestseller and it contains helpful insight on the internal workings of real-life teams. The author sheds some light on why some of them are successful while others are doomed almost from the start: “Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort--even their own survival--for the good of those in their care,” the book summary reads.

According to the author’s philosophy, encouraging cooperation, trust and communication among your team members is the absolute key for any team aiming for success. This book delves deeply into the topic and its anecdotal nature helps readers connect with their teams and apply effective leadership practices.

Available on:

Amazon US: $12.96 (Kindle), $13.70 (Paperback)*

Amazon UK: £7.47 (Paperback)*

5. Book: “Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity” by Kim Scott

Both a New York Times and a Wall Street Journal bestseller, this book, according to an editorial review, provides “clear and honest guidance on the fundamentals of leading others: how to give (and receive) feedback, how to make smart decisions, how to keep moving forward, and much more. If you manage people―whether it be 1 person or a 1,000--you need RADICAL CANDOR. Now.” ―Daniel Pink, New York Best Selling Author

Kim Scott draws on her extensive experience in companies like Google and Apple to explain her interesting two-sided approach for effective business management. As stated in the book: “to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly.”

Available on:

Amazon US: $13.99 (Kindle), $15.65 (Hardcover)*

Amazon UK: £18.99 (Hardcover)*

6. Online Course: “An Entire MBA in 1 Course”

This is the most popular business course on Udemy, and it contains articles, videos and other resources to help you understand concepts like macroeconomics, investment banking, and financial models. No previous experience is required and after completing it, you’ll have learned the necessary tools to launch a company and make it grow.

Available on:

Udemy: $199.99 (Often subject to massive discounts of over 90% off)

7. Book: “Principles: Life and Work” by Ray Dalio

A #1 New York Times Bestseller described as “Significant... The book is both instructive and surprisingly moving.”

Ray Dalio founded his investment company Bridgewater Associates more than 40 years ago in his small apartment in New York, and has managed to turn it into Fortune magazine’s “fifth most important private company in the United States,” according to the book summary. In this book, he offers an account of his experiences, including his unique decision-making approach, his people management strategies, and many other practices that have made him become the massively successful business mogul he is today.

Available on:

Amazon US: $14.99 (Kindle), $18.00 (Hardcover)*

Amazon UK: £17.00 (Hardcover)*

Bonus Picks:

Another very clever way of making the most out of your L&D budget would be to invest in subscriptions to online services such as Lynda, which offers a wide variety of courses on different topics –including business– for a monthly or annual fee. A subscription to O’Reilly Safari, for example, gives you access to thousands of books, videos, and interactive tutorials by world-renowned publishers, related to topics such as business and technology.

Additionally, platforms like Eventbrite allow you to access different business events in your area, such as networking and other business gatherings. Some of these events might even be free!

Lastly, you can take advantage of other useful platforms such as Audible by Amazon, which offers a huge selection of audiobooks at affordable prices.

As discussed above, organizations nowadays simply cannot afford not to invest in their people’s development. Think of your employees as the most valuable asset you have: Keeping your people comfortable and in top condition must be one of your most important goals as a company.

It is evident that you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money in order to show interest in your employees. Even with a limited budget, you can still give them the freedom they need to develop themselves in any way they want, thus encouraging them to be engaged in the workplace. All these resources can be easily incorporated to your Learning & Development strategy while still keeping all your budget from flying away from your hands.

*Amazon prices may vary daily
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