Last updated: 04.01.24

How to Develop a Team Without a Budget


In any business, whether it be a start-up company that is finding its feet, or a large corporation with offices scattered across the globe, when times are tough, learning and development (L&D) budgets are often the first to be cut or put on hold.

Sending employees away to training days and conferences can incur many costs, such as the price of the course, having workers away from the office, and travel fees. When work is busy, employees may not have the time to focus on their L&D, or so they believe.

However, developing the skills of your team doesn’t always require a budget. In this article, we take a look at how you can continue to facilitate the learning of your employees and continue developing teams regardless of costs.

What Is Learning and Development in the Workplace?

At work, learning and development involves ensuring that all employees have the opportunity to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to meet their role requirements and personal and professional career aspirations. It can involve the mandatory training that certain roles require and may also involve personal development work to upskill or broaden industry knowledge.

In many companies, Learning and Development is an official department or area of the business that helps to facilitate individual and team training. They are responsible for providing the resources needed to help employees develop and grow in their roles and will be working towards performance goals that evaluate the impact of this work.

In the majority of cases there will be an L&D budget that goes toward funding opportunities for employees to develop and upskill, which will depend on the size of the company and its industry. But developing a team doesn’t have to be done with paid courses or expensive team-building activities, as we’ll explore later in this article.

Why Is Learning and Development Important in the Workplace?

The main reason that learning and development are important in the workplace is that it helps to increase the talent in your company. By helping employees learn new things and develop new skills, they grow more proficient and confident in their roles and perform better at work, which increases the quality of their output and improves your overall business performance as a result.

Providing opportunities for team training is also a great way to boost employee engagement. When your teams know that they have the chance to grow their knowledge, gain new skills and try new things at work they won’t get bored or detached from their role, which also helps to keep motivation high.

Training your employees internally means that you end up creating a leadership pipeline within your business. By providing chances to upskill and develop important soft skills like communication, confidence and delegation, you have employees with the ability to step into leadership roles, which saves you from having to hire someone external instead.

Speaking of recruitment, having an established learning and development offering, even if your budget is small, can help to attract candidates to your business. Many candidates in today’s job market want to work in places that will help them to continuously grow and improve, and if you offer this to all employees your company will be a more desirable place to work.

Skills gaps are a real problem in certain industries, but if you have the resources to help employees know how to improve, you can fill these gaps yourself with training programs. Even free team-building activities can help contribute to soft skills gaps, which can boost your business performance and reduce the need for hiring new staff just to plug a gap.

Finally, an advantage of consistent learning and development efforts is that it can help facilitate innovation. If your employees are always growing and striving to improve, they’re more likely to pursue ideas that could lead to significant breakthroughs or profitable products, which is great for your business.

How to Develop a Team Without a Budget

Whether your L&D budget has just been cut, or you’re part of a small business and want to create a team development plan without eating into your company’s resources, there are a range of ways you can help your team develop without a budget.

Mentor your Staff

When an employee is mentored by someone who is senior to them and has more knowledge and experience, they are more likely to take advice on board, than from someone who is working at the same level. One way to help your staff develop without having an L&D budget is to set up a program for experienced employees to mentor junior ones, or vice versa. 

Having regular meetings to see how a mentee is getting along, helping them with any questions they have, and suggesting solutions and ways of working can be a massive help in getting employees to grow and develop. If you’re a manager mentoring your team it will also help to develop your relationships with your colleagues, meaning your team will feel more comfortable in coming forward with any issues they want to discuss.

Promote Giving Feedback

Another method of developing a team with a limited budget is to create a system for providing employees with frequent feedback. Managers must be direct with their feedback, both positive and negative, but you can also encourage colleagues to give each other feedback to help employees focus on areas to improve.

While managers need to highlight areas where staff need to improve, instead of just pointing these out, they should help their staff come up with a strategy to resolve this issue. It’s also important to remember that providing feedback and coaching staff isn’t just about telling people what to do. Managers will have to be engaged and listen to what their employees have to say by helping them think through their own situations and come up with the right answer.

Offer E-Learning Opportunities

When businesses think of L&D, they typically think of expenses. But e-learning and online training courses allow employees to work in their own time, for a reduced price. This cuts out time spent travelling and hours away from work, while generally being more effective than traditional learning methods.

E-learning also often takes a blended learning approach, which means incorporating multimedia as a learning method. Users can watch videos, play interactive games, answer quiz questions and read online articles - increasing their engagement and catering to how they learn. 

Online courses can also be completed in your employee's own time, when it suits them, with no stress to complete the course in a short timeframe. If you’re looking for e-learning resources to help your team develop, take a look at our collection of professional development online courses.

Consider Job Rotation

Employees can become very comfortable in their work environments, with day-to-day work being repetitive and sometimes not challenging them and helping them develop. This is why managers need to consider mixing things up from time to time with job rotations

Sending employees to a new team, department, role or geographic office for 6-12 months can provide great development experience. By doing this, your team will be able to build cross-functional knowledge and understanding as well as learn to work with all types of employees and leaders.

Facilitate Reflection

In any business, workers at every level should look back on their projects and reflect. As a manager, it’s a good idea to regularly encourage the reflection of team projects. 

You can do this by coming together as a group and asking questions, like what worked well? What didn’t go to plan? What would we do differently in future? This will help managers gain insight into the mind of their team as well as help their employees learn from each other and communicate feedback to lead to better work in the future.


How can learning and development benefit organisations?

Learning and development are very beneficial for organisations because they help to improve the abilities of individual employees. This in turn makes teams more effective because team members are better at their roles, so the quality of work done by the company improves which can help to drive growth and increased revenue.

What is the difference between learning and development?

Learning is the process of acquiring and understanding new information, whilst development is the product of improving and gaining new knowledge and skills. Learning is what happens when you seek out new ways to improve and development is what happens when you put this into practice.

What is digital learning and development?

Digital learning and development is learning and development that takes place online and might be in the form of virtual training sessions or self-paced training resources. This allows participants to complete training and learning at their own pace and also gives organisations a way of measuring their employee's L&D progress and performance.


When you’re a manager, helping your team perform to the best of their ability is one of your main priorities. Providing learning and development opportunities will help your fellow colleagues not only to get better at their roles but also help improve their engagement and motivation at work, leading to a much more positive workplace experience.

If you’re looking for budget-friendly learning and development opportunities online, our Personal and Professional Development courses are accessible and accreditable, which is ideal for teams that want to upskill.