L&D Resource Planning and Management: 6 Major Keys to Success

Resource planning in L&D involves managing, organizing, and allocating resources between multiple training projects in the most effective way. The resources can be the team’s effort, their skillsets, and the budget. That’s why this process is also called resource allocation.

In particular, training managers are responsible for allocating members to suitable tasks and optimizing their timeline throughout the project. This depends on the requirements of each training project and the skills of each team member. Proper L&D resource planning will result in getting the best out of the team with individual skill sets. 

Capacity planning vs. Resource planning

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but their meaning is not the same. 

Capacity planning means a calculation of resources that are available to meet the demand of training projects. In other words, you need to analyze whether your team has enough resources to complete a training project. This process also helps you to identify how much training your team can manage over a given period of time. 

So there are some following differences between these two terms

Capacity planningResource planning
What to do?Balance the resource capacity against the demand for trainingDivide and manage the resources into specific training projects
GoalsLong term focusShort term focus on individual project
Who involves?senior L&D management or L&D managersL&D management, line managers, and project managers.

On the other hand, capacity planning and resource planning still need to work in harmony. Only when you have thorough capacity planning does L&D resource management work best.

L&D resource planning

6 keys to successful L&D resource planning and management

  1. Create resource pool
  2. Identify resources in short supply 
  3. Take notice of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) availability
  4. Plan for interruptions and change
  5. Use the right level of granularity
  6. Keep your resources happy

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1. Create an active resource pool 

You can centralize all available resources by employee time availability, individual skills, and training budget. This pool can give you an accurate overview of resource availability at all times. It helps you to better manage tasks across different projects. 

An available resource overview allows you to prioritize the resource allocation to a particular training project when creating its timeline. It’s also necessary when the project is on the way. You can easily find members that are available to handle extra work or design complex training content. Or you can also pick out an available person to support other overdue projects. 

2. Identify resources in short supply 

Keep in mind that you always should define resource shortages before kicking off a training project. For example, imagine that you have less than three people who are specialized in the authoring tools of choice. So, prioritize those skills and allocate them among different projects. Planning the timelines with resource shortages helps projects not to be too surprised with the shortages. 

Identifying the required skills to complete an effective training team varies. It depends on the complexity of the projects, its quality requirements, and how much you’ve outsourced the development. 

Additionally, resource shortages also come from unexpected changes or requests. Thus, you need to have a clear plan for this. Identify potential shortages, build them into the training budget, and then create a pool of contractors or freelancers to mitigate. 

3. Take notice of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) availability 

Subject Matter Experts play an essential role in the content training development process. Their knowledge and advice allow you to offer comprehensive learning experiences. It’s important especially when the training subject is organization-specific. 

However, they also have their own day-to-day schedule to manage and many consulting requests from other departments. In other words, they act as a shared resource, not a dedicated one for the L&D department. That’s why SMEs’ availability for training programs will be a little inconsistent. 

To deal with this problem, you can identify one SME to work together with before kicking off the training project. Agree with them on their dedicated time in an individual project to build the appropriate project schedule. 

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4. Plan for change or interruption

Effective L&D resource management is always an ongoing process with the availability and allocation of resources in a near-constant flow. And we can not avoid any timing issues and scheduling conflicts, however, we can plan for them accordingly. 

Keep in mind to ensure your resource allocation process in each project is flexible enough with timing buffers. 

5. Use the right level of granularity 

Outside of a project, you need also take admin tasks or paid time-offs into account for each member’s working time. Hence, you should use different levels of granularity to analyze and allocate every resource. 

Particularly, the time-tracking report can be at a higher level of granularity than what you’ve planned for a certain program. The duration of the project also impacts the resource planning and reporting granularity. 

6. Keep your resources happy 

The main purpose of L&D resource management is to maximize your available resources and, thus, increase the whole business’s productivity. While one of the worst factors affecting productivity is the high turnover rate, especially for tenured or high-skilled employees. 

That’s why it’s essential to make your employees happy with the working environment, as well as their responsibilities and works. It’s one of the long-term solutions to maintain your high level of productivity. 

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In conclusion

Proper L&D resource planning and management are more likely a science, while still requiring flexibility at a certain level. In that way, you can ensure your training plan works successfully and responds constantly to any unexpected change. 

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