How to upskill your team on a budget

Professional development is a key part of business evolution. Discover courses that help with upskilling so you can create a development plan for you and your team.
· 21 April 2022 · 6 minute read

The importance of training for small and medium businesses

Training and upskilling can be a great way to keep your employees inspired. It can also help to fill any knowledge gaps for small business owners – like you – who wear many hats. Investing in your team’s development doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming, either. 

How training your team members can help with employee retention

Companies that excel at staff development are able to retain employees for nearly twice as long as companies that struggle to prioritise workplace training, LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning report found. Given the importance of staff retention, it’s wise to consider whether you’re doing enough to support the development of your team.

One way to support your employees – and encourage them to continue working with you – is by providing opportunities for career progression and learning and development. It shows you’re as invested in their careers as you are in the growth of your business.

How workplace training benefits both business owners and employees

It’s not just your employees who can benefit from tailored training programs. As a business owner, investing in your own development can help to improve your efficiency and leadership skills.

New technology solutions are also helping to encourage different methods of online learning. This means there are now many affordable workplace training options available to both small and medium size businesses. 


4 workplace training platforms that may benefit your business 

If you’re interested in supporting the professional development of your team, there are many workplace training methods to explore. To help you compare different options, we’ve compiled four flexible, affordable, and accessible professional development courses that can help with upskilling you and your team.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is a learning platform that offers free, self-paced online courses on a range of topics, from entrepreneurship to business management.

  • Price range: Free (with option to upgrade)
  • Course lengths: Approximately 5 to 8 weeks, 3 to 5 hours a week
  • Level of expertise: Beginner

What skills can MOOCs help you develop?

If you’re looking to improve your business efficiency, a good place to start is with their accounting, marketing and finance courses. And if you’re building a website, it may be worth exploring their design and web development courses.

The platform also offers a range of holistic courses suited to every level of employee, like leadership and health and wellbeing courses. MOOCs come with clear course outlines and time estimates so you know exactly what you will learn and how much time to set aside.


LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning is an on-demand library of instructional videos covering the latest business, technology and creative skills. You don’t need a LinkedIn account to join, but it can help to recommend which of their 17,500 courses is right for you and your team.

Platform details

  • Price range: 1-month free trial, then monthly or annual subscription
  • Course lengths: 10 minutes to 2 hours
  • Level of expertise: Beginner to intermediate

What skills can LinkedIn Learning help you develop?

LinkedIn Learning courses are designed to reflect your and your team’s interests and expertise – from ‘Humble Leadership’ to ‘Essentials of Team Collaboration’ and creative training like ‘Learning Lightroom CC’.


General Assembly

Since its launch in 2011, training provider General Assembly has provided tech-focused classes for over 40,000 students around the world. The online platform provides innovative training for lifelong learning and success in the in-demand fields of today’s rapidly changing technological economy.

Platform details

  • Price range: Free (with option to upgrade)
  • Course lengths: 10 minutes to 1 hour
  • Level of expertise: Beginner to experienced

What skills can General Assembly help you develop?

The General Assembly suite of courses offers extensive training on the following topics:

  • User Experience (UX)
  • Business
  • Data science
  • Marketing
  • Coding.

There are also five different class types to choose from: Workshops & Events, On Demand Learning, Part-Time, Full-Time and Flex.

If you’re looking for bite-sized or self-paced courses, workshops and events or on-demand learning are great starting points. While part-Time, full-time and flex learning immersions are useful if you or an employee are looking to deep-dive into a particular subject.


Meta Blueprint

Meta Blueprint – formerly known as Facebook Blueprint – provides affordable, self-paced digital marketing tutorials. The platform’s short videos give key insights on how you can best engage with Meta’s primary platforms: Instagram and Facebook.

Platform details

  • Price range: Free
  • Course lengths: 10 minutes to 1 hour
  • Level of expertise: Beginner to intermediate

What skills can Meta Blueprint help you develop?

Meta Blueprint courses can teach you a range of digital marketing skills. They run courses in how to ‘Promote Your Business from Your Facebook Page’ and ‘Get Discovered with Instagram Reels’. If you want to take more complex marketing lessons, they also offer courses like ‘Four Dimensions of Liquidity’, a program that teaches you how automated systems can help your social media ads to reach a wider audience.


The value of investing in yourself and your team

When Kirsty Chapman-Smith launched Discount Party Supplies  in 2009, she immediately invested in her learning and development. Her commitment led the business to be named a State Winner and National Finalist at the 2022 Telstra Best of Business Awards in the Outstanding Growth category. Kirsty says that training is key to her success as a founder and CEO.

“From the very beginning, like many businesses, it was a challenge. I didn’t have technical and coding skills to build a website. I didn’t have photography or graphic design skills to showcase the products. I had to find [out how] to do things,” she says.

“I did WEA courses and TAFE courses. I’ve had mentors and business advisers over the years. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts, attended industry events. You name it, I was prepared to do it. And I’m still prepared to learn and grow for the benefit of this business.”

Investing in workplace training can have a positive impact on your business growth. It can also help you to become more efficient and to improve employee retention.


Want to learn more about how to upskill on a budget? 

Aside from the professional development courses listed here, it’s worth researching potential government-run workplace training initiatives you may be eligible for. To start your search, try sites such as:

If you’d prefer to start closer to home, consider what areas you’d like to develop and ask your employees what skills they’d like to learn. And, for a quick knowledge boost, check out other articles and reports on Smarter Business.

There are many ways to run workplace training, and most businesses develop their own professional development plans. No matter what approach you take, it’s important to choose a plan of action that makes the most sense for you, your business, and your team. 

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