Brownie Wise (the saleswoman behind the success of Tupperware) said, “If you want to build a business, build the people.” This is incredibly important but now more than ever. With the hiring shortage going on, you must do something to make your business stand out and helping potential employees understand they can have a career with you (or at least feel valued while they are there) can be the difference between going with you or deciding to work elsewhere.

 

But how do you “build the people”? Training can be costly and who has the time or money for that? Believe it or not, there are a lot of free resources out there. Here are just a few:

 

7 Avenues for Free (or almost free) Training for Employees

To the best of our knowledge, each of these options is free. However, there may be a minimal cost with some specialized trainings.

 

If you want to check out a subscription course offering, there’s LinkedIn Learning. After your free month trial, there’s a $19.95 per month fee for unlimited access to their courses. Courses include advanced work on popular software like Office and Google as well as technical things like learning coding languages such as Python.

 

Assuming you want free (or nearly so), here’s a great list of options:

 

The Chamber of Commerce

If you belong to the chamber of commerce in your area, those benefits extend to your employees. If the chamber offers webinars, meet and greets, or lunch and learns, you can (and should) encourage your employees to attend these free (or heavily discounted) ways to learn and get to know others in the community.

 

SBA and other Business Groups

The Small Business Association and other local business groups offer free training periodically. Sign up for their newsletters or check out their website to see what webinars are available. SBA also has free business counseling for you if you’re a small business owner.

 

YouTube

You may assume that the courses on YouTube would be conducted by fame-seeking teenagers but that’s simply not the case. There are a lot of good resources available on this channel. You could create a playlist of videos and share it with your marketing team/person, for instance.

 

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

You probably knew by now that MIT offers free online classes but what you may not have realized is that it’s not all science related. They have plenty of business courses too. Check out the ones on entrepreneurship.

 

University of California has some solid offerings as well. Also, check out Open University for even more.

 

TedTalks

You might be surprised the kind of things you can learn in a TedTalk. While they may not teach direct skills, they teach ways to think and reframe problems that can be advantageous in a lot of roles. Your employees may also learn stronger empathy through watching a few of these.

 

Niche Sources

Make a list of what you’d like your employees to learn and then set them free to find no-cost instruction. For instance, there’s a course on supply chain management, corporate finance, and digital marketing. Some even come with certifications.

 

Ahrefs Academy

Lots of great courses here including SEO for Beginners (who couldn’t use that?) and several marketing courses. Good information that every business can use.

 

There are plenty of free training options out there for your staff. The difficulty is in giving them the time for professional development. Offering the courses won’t do you any good if they don’t take them, so make sure you communicate that this is an important part of your business. Your best employees will appreciate the challenge and the additional training. And best of all, it won’t cost you a thing!

 

 

Christina R. Metcalf (formerly Green) is a marketer who enjoys using the power of story and refuses to believe meaningful copy can be written by bots. She helps chamber and small business professionals find the right words when they don’t have the time or interest to do so. 

Christina hates exclamation points and loves road trips. Say hi on Twitter or reach out on Facebook.