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2018-05-21 22:39:12Growing Your PracticeEnglishIn a busy small business, staff training can often be overlooked. Budgets for formal training are often too expensive for a small business...https://quickbooks.intuit.com/au/resources/au_qrc/uploads/2018/05/iStock-178066480.jpghttps://quickbooks.intuit.com/au/resources/grow-your-practice/tips-for-training-staff-on-a-budget/Tips For Training Staff On A Budget | QuickBooks Australia

Tips for training staff on a budget

2 min read

In a busy small business, staff training can often be overlooked. Budgets for formal training are often too expensive for a small business to cover. However, new generations of workers expect development as a part of their job, and retaining great staff is an important part of long term success in any business. Here are some tips to training your staff on a shoestring budget.

What is 70:20:10?

Traditionally work place training is lumbered with pre-conceived notions of classroom or online based training, often relating to compliance. However, the 70:20:10 approach looks to flip the thinking around and take a look at what it means to learn at work. It gives a rough guide to indicate where time should be spent on the job.

70% — informal, on the job, experience based, stretch projects and practice

20% — coaching, mentoring, developing through others

10% — formal learning interventions and structured courses

These figures aren’t a rule, just a guide to indicate where a majority of time should be spent in an effective learning plan.

Why would 70:20:10 be important in small business?

In small business you are often wearing many, many hats. Training becomes part of the role and 70:20:10 puts a framework in place to track and discuss this on the job learning.

How do I implement a 70:20:10 model?

The first part of any learning activity is to understand what expertise or knowledge needs to be gained in order to do the job. Learning plans should be an extension of a job description or a list of tasks and responsibilities.

Think about how you could track the on the job activities that tie in with current practice – what work related outcomes does the job have? What skills are needed to produce those outcomes?


If you’re starting from scratch, the next step would be to communicate the approach with existing or new staff. Let your staff know the 70:20:10 time prescription will be your focus, and get them involved in listing any training requirements they already have.


Formalise the process of side by side buddying by setting specific time where the learning will happen. There’s bound to be interruptions (it’s small business, of course) but make sure that it’s an official time for someone to show up and ask questions.

If there’s someone in your business that’s an expert in a particular area, you can maximise your training time by having a ‘brownbag’ session. These popular sessions are a quick lunchtime share out that are still relatively informal.


To track how staff are going with training, you’ll need a record of what’s been covered. Record the sessions, and a high level of what was covered. Have a system for collecting the information such as a diary or even a quick video on a phone to document what’s been learned.

Plan (again)

Learning never stops and neither can your training plans. On a regular basis have a quick check in expressly about the on the job learning.  Has everything been covered? What’s still on the to-do list?  Adjust the original plan to suit.

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Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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