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Learning in a Tough Economy
Economic downturns often present opportunities to make learning more effective.
Although there seems to be no shortage of bad news in the business world these days, there is a bright spot for learning leaders: Economic downturns often present opportunities to make learning more effective, thereby making organizations more competitive.
When the economy slows, corporations are forced to respond. It’s a simple financial matter: Less money coming in means less money available to spend. Common fiscal belt-tightening techniques include budget cuts, spending and hiring freezes, and reducing the size of the employment base through buyouts, attrition or layoffs.
As organizational leaders weigh tough decisions on where to cut costs, they should ask themselves one simple question: “Do we still want to be in business after the downturn?” If the answer is “yes,” one area in which spending should not be cut without some serious strategic thought is employee learning and development.
True, adjustments may be needed. The learning and development department probably should reduce spending just like everyone else. Instead of cutting all initiatives in equal fashion, smart organizations retain initiatives that are critical to business success and cut back on those that may simply be “nice to do.” Think of it this way: It wouldn’t be prudent for a restaurant kitchen to eliminate fire extinguishers to save costs in lean times, would it?
Canceling an arbitrary portion of training initiatives across the board creates the illusion of savings — some real via eliminated travel expenses and some potential under the assumption that freed-up staff time is put to good use. But without strategic thinking about where cuts should be made, such moves could end up damaging the differentiators responsible for competitive advantage.
Planning to Outlive a Recession
Development is a key factor in ensuring people stay engaged in the organization and continue to have an impact on the company’s bottom line. Giving current and potential leaders the development they need helps a company weather the storm and continue to excel. So how can necessary cuts be made with minimal long-term damage? What can be cut, and what should remain?
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
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