In the current economic climate most organisations are in cost reduction mode wherein mainstream budgets are being cut. Typically the first of these to be impacted are the learning and development budgets. Sudeshni Gounden discusses how costs can be kept down without negatively affecting training, and show how in fact the very opposite can be achieved while still lowering costs.
by Sudeshni Gounden
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sudeshni Gounden is a learning designer at Hi-Performance Learning focusing on learning design and development.
Many organisations have to resort to retrenchments as a survival strategy. Retrenchments of staff often results in one person taking on two or three peoples’ work load and as a result, employees feel insecure, anxious, overloaded and unskilled. We are finding that organisations will cut back on investing in the development of these employees, even if the employee (due to the additional workload of retrenched staff) needs to perform additional tasks for which they are not necessarily prepared. In addition to the cost saving drive of organisations, it is also found that the additional work pressure (due to a cut in staff) may inhibit employees from attending training interventions. In the challenging times currently being experienced, the questions to ask are:
How are we preparing our organisations to sustain themselves if calculated risks aren’t taken in terms of learning and development; and
Can your organisation risk reduced or no employee development?
So what are the next steps for organisations who would like to sustain themselves and get the most out of their employees in this current economic downturn:
The introduction of robust performance coaching models into the workplace;
Organisations need to consider how learning can become part and parcel of employees’ everyday working life;
Time to competence needs to be reduced;
Performance has to be optimised;
Organisations need to seriously consider changing their learning strategies in order to improve the performance and productivity of employees in a shortened time as traditional training methods are competence based and typically do not impact performance immediately; and
Focus should be on performance based workplace solutions which have a direct impact on performance.
To make performance based workplace solutions work effectively the first steps are to:
Establish what the performance outcomes are or need to be (e.g. what should employees be able to do?);
Build solutions which are aimed at closing the performance gaps;
Look at the roles that are impacted;
Evaluate places of learning (formal vs. workplace); and
Investigate supporting learning technology options within the workplace.