GovLoop Poll – How Big is Your Training Budget?

Last week’s GovLoop poll was “How Big is Your Training Budget?”

I think it is an important question as Gov 2.0 evolves and there becomes more events (such as Gov 2.0 Summit and OGI) and training courses. How do we provide ways to bring people together online and offline to learn from experts and our peers?

The results are:

27.3% $2,500 or more
18.2% $1,500 – $2,500
27.3% $1-$1,500
27.3% Zero. Zilch. Nada.

It seems like there is a wide range of training budgets with some individuals having significant budgets while others are scrapping by if they have any at all. The good thing is there are a range of options to learn from simply getting involved in sites like GovLoop and Twitter and directly talking to thought-leaders all the way to going to flagship events such as ALI Social Media in Government, Gov 2.0 Summit, and OGI.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Interesting poll results, Steve. I’d be curious to know the raw numbers behind those percentages…then poll the group of folks who have budgets over $2,500 to see how they were able to successfully make the case for that size of budget.

By the way, to learn about an agency who has made a financial commitment to Gov 2.0, check out Smithsonian’s creative approach to sparking Gov 2.0.

Henry Brown

Suspect somewhat related:

an article in Federal Times as it relates to training in the government arena….

“It borders on criminality that an organization as complicated as the federal government spends as little as it does on training. It is a failure at every level. We fail to train entry people, we fail to train managers or people as we promote them into management, we fail to train senior executives,” Berry said.

Current statistics are hard to come by, but a survey of federal agencies commissioned by Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, found that agencies spent about 1.9 percent of their payroll on training between 1997 and 2000. By contrast, the private sector spends 4 percent on average, and leading firms spend much more, according to “The People Factor: Strengthening America by Investing in Public Service,” a 2009 book by former Commerce Department Assistant Secretary Linda Bilmes and W. Scott Gould, the new deputy secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.

Berry said he’s not sure what the right percentage should be, suggesting it could range from 3 percent to 5 percent or higher.

Whatever the figure, it should be included as a mandatory line item in each agency’s budget, Berry said. Under the legislative proposal being drafted by the White House, agencies would lose that percentage of their personnel budget if they don’t spend it on training, he said.

“At the end of day, if you’re not going to put your money where your mouth is, it ain’t going to work,” he said.

Requiring agencies to spend a set amount on training or risk losing those funds could help protect that money from being cut when agencies are short on cash, said Joseph Swerdzewski, managing partner at JSA Consulting, a San Jose, Calif.-based company that provides management training and other services to federal agencies on minority hiring and employee relations.

“If an agency has tough financial times, the first thing that goes is training,” he said. “Too often, the money is shifted to some other purpose.”

Swerdzewski, who was general council at the Federal Labor Relations Authority under President Bill Clinton, said most of the training agencies provide is for specific job-focused tasks. Claims examiners are trained on how to submit requests for benefits, and supervisors are trained on their agency’s performance management system. But most agencies fail to provide employees with training on so-called soft skills, such as customer service techniques for the claims examiner or communications skills to help managers with employee relations.

Denise Hill

Henry, The article is on point. Training budgets seem to be the first to be sacrificed in times of budget constraints. It would be interesting to see if you received more respondents that indicate that they do not know how much is in their training budget or that it just got reduced. Training is one of those things where being innovative in seeking out webinars, magazines, lunch and learn, and networking opportunities is a usefull tool.