Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Employee training and the 2009 budget battle

As we enter 2009 and our country falls deeper into a recession, a recent survey has revealed how many companies plan to cut costs this year and it all starts with HR.

Most companies plan to cut costs in 2009 through a combination of layoffs, hiring freezes, reduced employee training and reevaluating various other HR programs, according to a 2008 fourth quarter study by global consulting firm Watson Wyatt.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - employee training is one of your most valuable business assets, especially during periods of economic hardship.

Though our budgets are stretched almost to the breaking point, now is not the time to eliminate employee training opportunities.

Why training is more important during a recession:

  • Well trained employees work more efficiently, with less errors and delays.
  • Training improves employee engagement, loyalty and development.
  • Employees taking on more work get up to speed faster with the right training.
  • Training gives a boost to employee morale and confidence.

Resist the urge to take the “easy” way out by cutting development opportunities and find creative ways to stretch your training dollars to their full potential.

In a recent article at TrainingZone, Nigel Paine, former head of training and development at the BBC, outlined ways organizations can rise to the challenge during these tough times and stay focused on L&D.

Here are a few tips from his list of top learning and development strategies for 2009:

  • Don’t panic. Though many of your programs may be on notice, use this time to adjust your strategy, plan and take a close look at what is or is not working. Put your focus on the skills and attitudes will get you through the next year.

  • Innovate. Restructuring isn’t always a bad thing. The old way of doing things may not be working anymore. Use this opportunity to discover new employee training ideas to take you into the future.

  • Get online. E-learning has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years. Online resources can help you cut down on training costs and deliver learning faster, with less time away from work.

  • Listen. What can you do to support those in your organization who are having a tough time? What type of training opportunities would help them succeed? Listening to your staff is the best way to determine their needs.

  • Find free or cheap training tools. Do your research and find low cost equivalents for the product or service you’re planning to buy. Selling new training ideas to the boss is much easier when your idea is free.

And remember Paine’s advice: “This is the time for thought not panic … be optimistic but realistic!”

No comments:

Brought to you by