Bridge the Crisis by Using Your Learning & People Development Training Budget

Feb 11, 2021

Drive Impact is a consultancy founded in 2018 that covers people development & training in Berlin for Startups and SMEs. Their expertise consists in supporting companies to build a strong corporate and employee culture through the application of methodological skills from psychology. The aim of the workshops and training is to unfold the potential and growth of teams sustainably.Drive Impact designs and delivers organisational structures & processes which support companies through phases of transformation. They offer necessary HR resources such as access to HR technology tools,people development and management best practices, modern employer branding and employee benefits via their business partner network (contact us for more information).

Viktoria Lindner, the founder and CEO of DRIVE!MPACT, is a trained psychologist and has been working in the startup ecosystem for over five years. Partnering with startups in phases of radical change has always been an integral part of her work.

We spoke with her about the effects of the corona crisis with regards to the importance of offering and supporting employees with the opportunity of develop themselves under these unusual circumstances by making use of the Learning & People Development (L&D) budget.

What do you Currently Observe in the Area of People Development in the Startup Scene as a Reaction to the Corona Crisis?

We currently observe that most Startups operate remotely these days. Companies try to keep the productivity level of their employees high, but this is not always possible. Decreasing orders result in fewer operational tasks and as a result, start-ups are forced to cut down on the hours of their employees. This alone means that many employees are no longer able to work 100%. Read our article on improving employee engagement during the crisis here

In addition, we are also observing that measures of leadership development are being scaled back. This is due to reduced budgets. In addition, startups are no longer as eager to spend their money. One of the first places where these savings take effect is in the ongoing people development of their employees.

How do you React to the Current Situation and the Budget Freezes with a lot of Startups?

Contrary to the reactive trend, now is actually not the time to scale back on people development. The additional down-time allows employees to deal with issues relating to personal development right now. As a bonus, workshops and training can be conveyed effectively using digital tools. Drive Impact is a purely digital agency and we have been offering all our training and workshops through digital platforms (more on digital trainings).

In our experience through digital training, the efficiency and effectiveness can be far greater than regular group workshops in person. There is less planning required, no clashes over meeting room availability and yet the necessity of the training remains and the same content can be conveyed remotely. Read more on Digital And Strategic Transformation here

Why do you Think Now is the Right Time for Learning & People Development Measures?

We believe that now is the right time for learning and people development measures because, as I mentioned earlier, employees have more time and also an increased need. During a complete lockdown people have even more free time at home, especially during weekends when many other leisure activities have been cancelled.

For many people, this raises fears over their future prospects. They start to be more concerned with themselves and how their employer reacts to the new and unknown situation and tend to question their actions even more. Some were forced to take unpaid leave or their working hours were decreased. The uncertainty makes them wonder whether their current company is the right place to work for them.

This is exactly why employers should act now and do their best to provide good employer branding and to motivate their employees by helping them during the crisis. This is the only way to maintain and strengthen employee experience.  On the other hand, employees can take advantage of these people development opportunities right now because they have more time. At the same time, questions arise, such as how to manage your team better regarding remote work. It is precisely at this point that it makes sense to draw on the knowledge of experts to provide security.

Read How to Leverage Employer Branding for Your Company from our partner Personio.

How is your Employee Training Compatible with the Current Savings in Costs for Startups?

Our trainings and workshops shouldn’t be a burden in these difficult times and we want to help our clients. Most startups have already allocated a Learning & People Development (L&D) budget for their employees. This is usually between 500 and 1000 Euros.

Often only 20% of this annual Learning & People Development (L&D) budget is used by the employees. This is due to the high level of bureaucracy and the strong operational involvement of the employees. Many feel guilty about being released for individual training and often have to catch up on their work. We think that now is the optimal time to use perhaps 80% of the budget that has been released anyway.

What Exactly are you Offering as a Solution?

We offer tickets for five or ten sessions in different areas. First of all, we offer an internal survey to see what people are interested in and where they most likely require support and coaching.

Individually adapted to the needs and wishes of the employees, we then find suitable coaches. A five-session-ticket (for 500 Euros) and a ten-session-ticket (for 1000 Euros) can then be flexibly redeemed within two months. This includes one or two coaching sessions per week. The content of the coaching sessions can also be individually adapted. We offer our sessions in different areas:

  • We offer business-relevant topics such as leadership and people development coaching, management coaching, introduction to best practices in OKRs, remote working, how to keep your team engaged despite home office while maintaining the values of the company.
  • Another topic is business coaching. That includes questions like how you can change my corporate strategy, how you can develop new digital MVP's and how you can drive business development in general.
  • A further topic always in great demand is sales coaching. Especially now it is important to have a good sales team and therefore to coach and support that team.
  • Finally, we offer personal coaching, which is an essential service for individuals to navigate these tough circumstances. We offer a contact point where it is possible to talk about personal fears, to exchange views on existential fears and career fears personally with certified psychologists. We want to help employees to deal better with new and unknown situations that may arise out of this current period.

What is the ROI for Startups to ask their Employees to use Their Annual Learning & People Developement Budget Now?

Now is the perfect time for individual training, because businesses are slowing down and employees have time for personal development. The planned budget is finally used and employees show higher engagement with their company because they are offered these opportunities.

This increases motivation and also enables companies to support and accompany their employees personally in this exceptional situation. This avoids psychological and professional burnouts that can also result as a lack of clear direction and focus. Instead, they will use this season to up skill themselves in key areas that will benefit the company in the long run.

This is a unique chance for employees and employers to become active in this situation. When the restrictions are slowly being lifted, the frantic activity will leave no time for training and workshops, because everybody will be hands-on back to the grind. Using these next few months to develop will in turn help them to perform better when the operative business is back in full force.

What are Companies Doing That Have Not Yet set Learning & People Development Budgets for Each Individual employee?

Not all companies have an allocated Learning and People Development (L&D) budget. We are able to support them by putting together a customized coaching package and present our other services as well. We ensured that our offer is reasonably priced so that even small start-ups can take advantage of our coaching services. 


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