Training in times of recession

Training in times of recessionA well trained workforce is the key to success of any business. Training provides the opportunity to develop the technical and behavioural skills of the employees. It helps the employees in achieving their personal goals which in turn enhances their contribution to the organization. Once trained, workers and managers become motivated and display a positive attitude. Organizations should, therefore, devise such a training programme that will help employees perform effectively.

However, in these times of global economic meltdown the mantra of all companies is cost cutting. The first temptation as far as the management is concerned is to reduce their training budgets. In a January 22, 2009 press release research firm Bersin and Associates( ) has indicated that the average training expenditures per employee in the US fell 11 percent in the past year, from $1,202 per learner in 2007 to $1,075 per learner in 2008. The U.S. corporate training market also shrank from $58.5 billion in 2007 to $56.2 billion in 2008, the greatest decline in more than 10 years.

Similarly, the training industry in India is facing a challenging situation. “The organizations should be realistic enough while identifying the training needs. Previously companies were sending any of their employees to attend workshops irrespective of whether he will bring value to the organization. It is high time to stop these practices,” says a corporate trainer.

A training expert suggests some cost- effective ways to impart training in these difficult times, “Instead of hiring outside trainers, experienced personnel from within the company can provide training to the junior level employees. Companies can maintain their own libraries so that employees can browse through books and sharpen their skills. This will be an investment for the long term. Also employees should be encouraged to spare some time from work and participate in group discussions or other knowledge sharing activities.”

The training department has to play an important role in these difficult times. Unknowingly some organizations cut training as a reaction to difficult times. The need of the hour is to plan wisely so that the training process in organizations in these times of recession goes on smoothly.


- Ranjita Chattopadhyay (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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