Get the most out of your training budget with key tips.

How to set up a training budget that meets the needs of increasing skills and the requirements of savings. Here are the best levers for optimization.
Training budget: the secret weapon of HR development
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Training is seen as the solution to many business problems, rightly or wrongly. HR teams build and manage an annual training budget based on their payroll, job changes, internal and external transfers, and their needs at skills. Today, the training landscape is evolving rapidly with a strong increase in the availability of open content, which has a strong impact on the choice of training and the amount of money invested in the development plan at skills.

In this article, we detail the obligations of the employer, the aids, the calculation of the budget and especially the levers to do better with less.

The legislative dimension of the training budget

Management of mandatory training

A distinction must be made between the obligation to train and mandatory training. The employer must, at a minimum, train all employees once every 6 years. As for mandatory training, two main categories are those related to health and safety on the one hand, and to authorizations and certifications on the other. 

Training investment obligations

The amount of participation in professional training depends on the company's workforce and payroll. In France, they are governed by the September 5, 2018 law for the freedom to choose one's professional future, which replaced the March 5, 2014 law on professional training, employment and social democracy.

What are the employer's obligations in terms of professional training?

These obligations depend on the size of the company:

  • Companies with less than 11 employees: these companies are not obliged to contribute to the financing of continuing professional training. However, they can benefit from a tax credit for training expenses incurred for their employees.
  • Companies with 11 to 49 employees: these companies must devote at least 0.55% of their annual payroll to the financing of continuing professional training. They can choose to pay this contribution to an operator of skills (OPCO) or to manage their training budget directly.
  • Companies with 50 or more employees : these companies must devote at least 1% of their annual payroll to the financing of continuing professional training. They can also choose to pay this contribution to an OPCO or to manage their training budget directly.

Finally, companies are now required to pay new contributions to vocational training, in addition to the existing contributions. The "contribution unique à la formation professionnelle et à l'alternance" (CUFPA) is now required in addition to the CPF-CDD and the Contribution Supplémentaire à l'Apprentissage (CSA).

The training budget: figures and actors

Training figures

Training investment figures(topformation barometer) :

Figures for corporate investment in training in France
Training investment figures
  • 33 billion have been invested in training in 2022, of which 15.5 billion are for vocational training alone.
  • Companies provide 37.2% of the funding, the public authorities 25.4% (mainly for job seekers), collective bodies (OPCOs) 18.9%, individuals 7% and various actors 11.5%.
  • The training deficit is estimated at 2.1 billion for 2023.
  • Only 9% of companies spend more than 1000 euros per employee per year, the majority (12.5%) spend between 400 and 600€.

Perception of the training by the learners (Figures of the barometer of our partner Edflex) : 

The perception of training in France
The perception of training by French employees
  • 40% of employees believe they do not know what training is offered by their company
  • The educational content is rated 6.4 out of 10 by learners
  • The empowerment of employees in their training is gaining ground: 71% of them have already used free content (video, podcast, articles, etc.), 41% of which can be applied immediately.
  • The time devoted to the development of skills is growing rapidly, with 26% of respondents spending 2 to 3 hours a week on it and 13% spending 2 to 3 hours a day.

The role of France skills

France skills is the organization in charge of regulating and financing professional training in France. Its role is to define the priorities for vocational training, ensure the quality of training, set the criteria for certification and accreditation of training organizations, and manage the financing of vocational training. Its 2023 budget has increased by nearly 2 billion compared to 2022, from 13 to 14.8 billion, 18% of which is dedicated to the Professional Training Account (CPF). In addition, France skills works closely with vocational training stakeholders, such as companies, professional branches and regions, to ensure that vocational training meets the needs of the labor market and enables individuals to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in their professional careers

The evolution of OPCAs towards OPCOs

OPCOs have replaced OPCAs since the 2018 vocational training reform. OPCOs are operators of skills responsible for supporting companies in the implementation of continuing vocational training. Their mission is to collect contributions from companies, finance training actions, support professional branches in developing their training policy and advise companies in implementing their training plan.

Levers for optimizing the training budget

Training aids: 

In France, companies with less than 50 employees can benefit from financial aid to establish a training plan for their employees via the Personal Training Account (CPF), as well as certain aid from their OPCO (Operator of skills) or from their region. To find out more about this assistance, please consult the following pages:

Companies with more than 50 employees can also benefit from financial aid for the training of their employees, in particular via their OPCO. To find out more about these obligations and subsidies, you can consult the following pages:

We are currently seeing that the traditional top-down forms of transmission, where HR development departments decide on training topics and produce the content, no longer win over employees. As a proof, only 30% of the courses are completed (figures from our partner 360 learning). The renewal of the offer requires an operational and collaborative orientation, based on the real skills of the learners.

On-the-job training or FEST

What is "On-the-job training?

This training modality in real work situations (FEST) is an effective training lever to quickly acquire skills or postures. FEST breaks the 'learn and then do' sequence and gives the training its operational dimension.

The new law "for the freedom to choose one's professional future" redefines the perimeter of a training action that can now be carried out "in a work situation".

The full-scale experimentation of AFEST(Action de Formation en Situation Réelle de Travail) conducted in 2015 showed a wide variety of professions that could lend themselves to this training modality.

Examples of companies that have implemented it

Many companies use FEST, especially in sectors where the required skills are complex and where traditional training is not sufficient to meet the company's needs. 

  • For example, Airbus has implemented a FEST for training its maintenance and production teams, which has significantly reduced training time and improved operational efficiency. 
  • Similarly, the Michelin Group uses FEST to train its production operators, allowing them to learn by working directly on the machines and equipment used in their daily work. 
  • In the health sector, the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris has set up a FEST for the training of its nurses, by making them work on real patient care situations.

Financial impact of FEST

FEST often involves a reduction in production activity during the training period. However, this cost is offset by the reduction in training time required to achieve the required level of skill , as well as by the improved productivity and quality of work after the training. In addition, FEST can be combined with other forms of training, such as e-learning or face-to-face training, to reduce costs and optimize training results

Involving employees: collaborative learning

What is collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning is a training modality that emphasizes collaboration and interaction between learners themselves, as well as with trainers and experts. It is a more participatory and active approach than traditional training, which is often focused on the transmission of knowledge by an expert.

Learners acquire new information from each other, share experiences and knowledge, and work together to solve problems. This method encourages individual and group responsibility, and can help motivate learners.

Why choose collaborative learning?

Companies don't always identify all of the so-called "implicit" knowledge they have. Capitalizing on internal knowledge is not only a way to reduce costs, but also to accelerate the commitment of talents to their colleagues and potentially to identify new vocations. This trend can also be explained by the prevailing horizontality in organizations, with teamwork taking precedence over individual issues.

Examples of companies that use collaborative learning

  • BNP Paribas : the bank has set up a collaborative training program for managers, based on workshops, feedback, exchanges of best practices, etc. The aim is to develop skills managerial skills through collaboration and experience sharing.
  • IBM: the IT giant has implemented a collaborative training program for engineers, based on collaborative projects, workshops, role-playing, etc. This approach has helped develop engineers' technical and behavioral skills through collaboration and experimentation. This approach has helped to develop the skills technical and behavioral skills of engineers through collaboration and experimentation.

Financial impact of collaborative learning

Collaborative Learning is a cost-effective solution for companies because it saves on training costs. By utilizing the resources and expertise of existing employees, the company can reduce external training costs while providing more relevant training that is focused on real business needs. In addition, collaborative training can be implemented at a lower cost, as it often requires few physical resources and can be done using simple, inexpensive digital tools.

However, it is important to note that the implementation of collaborative training can also involve indirect costs such as the work time of the employees involved in the training, the implementation and management of digital tools, as well as the supervision of the training by the company's managers

The right balance between mobilization of skills and appreciation of preferences

The inflation of content and learning methods is likely to make employees more demanding, more autonomous and to refocus the issue on adapting training to objectives and performance. HR development managers sometimes have requests for training in areas of skills that are quite distant from the company's priorities.

Establishing a training budget must meet 2 criteria: 

  • Feed the company's strategic skills
  • Make the contents, modalities converge with the learners' preferences.

Focus on high-stakes qualifications

The training budget is therefore correlated with the measurement of the gaps between the current and required level of skills employees. Having this information therefore requires a business architecture and skills, an information system that evaluates these aspects on a regular basis. This is what Neobrain offers through dashboards for HR and managers: skills at risk, skills emerging and skills to be developed are gathered in a centralized space.

This is what Sage managed to achieve as part of its transformation from an "On-Premise" to a "SaaS" HR solutions provider. This involved refocusing on skills, assessing the existing level, and then carrying out appropriate reskilling and upskilling programs.

Capitalize on employee preferences

Focusing on the transversality of skills demonstrates its advantages for an increased flexibility of the employees. The HR development manager who ensures that he knows the skills of his employees to develop certain skills has a greater probability of good assimilation of the learning provided.

All the tools that make up a training plan can be found on our "Optimize your training plan" page.

Performance indicators to support the budget

The first obstacle to the development of skills for HR development managers is the difficulty of demonstrating the positive impact of training. It is indeed difficult to measure the impact of a training on the performance of a company or an employee, because there are many factors that can influence the results. It is therefore preferable to talk about "return on expectations" or objectives rather than "return on investment". 

Here are 5 interesting indicators used with our partners: 

  1. Abandonment and conversion rates, synonymous with the relevance of the content provided
  2. The rate of absenteeism or post-training departures: it can be synonymous with insufficient support
  3. The promotion rate of employees who have taken the training: a sign of positive influence
  4. The satisfaction rate by training modality: a valuable indicator in the construction of the N+1 budget
  5. The evolution of the average level of skill post-training: this involves assessing skills before and after the training, and comparing the results to see if the training has indeed improved their level.

GPT chat and its role in training

This AI greatly facilitates the automation of content creation,

Disadvantages of Chatgpt for training:

  • Some errors appear in the quotation of the sources cited
  • It does not take into account the context of the company unless it is fed with tedious command lines

Chatgpt Opportunities: 

  • Assisted creation of questions to ensure learner understanding
  • Continuous exchange with this language model.

Here is the answer from Chat-GPT itself: 

"Chat-GPT can be used to ensure learner understanding by generating questions on the fly and providing personalized answers based on the learner's responses. This can help learners identify gaps in their understanding and deepen their learning.

However, there are also limitations to using ChatGPT in training. First, ChatGPT is a data-driven language model, which means that it can reproduce biases and errors contained in the data it was trained on. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the training data used to train ChatGPT is of high quality and free of bias.

In addition, ChatGPT may not be able to answer complex or specific questions, especially if they involve skills practical or specific technical knowledge. In these cases, more specialized and customized learning tools are preferred.

Finally, the use of ChatGPT in education raises ethical issues, including the protection of learners' personal data and the responsibility of teachers and trainers in using these technologies. It is important to ensure that uses of ChatGPT in education meet ethical standards and regulations."

Conclude on the construction of the training budget

The challenges posed by the transformation of professions are contributing to a transformation of the training landscape. A new complexity is emerging to build a budget that serves the interests of the company and the employability of employees.

The inflation of content and learning methods is pushing each of the players to refocus on essential needs and the measurement of the impact of available training. Employers' obligations are numerous and resources are essentially focused on companies with less than 50 employees, whereas learners can easily access quality content.

This evolution puts into perspective the need to create strong synergies between management software skills, Learning Management Systems, Jobs & Skills Management in an integrated environment where HR data is maximized.