The landscape of work has changed considerably over the last 20 to 30 years. Never has it been more important than to ensure that as a business leader, you are addressing the skills gaps in your own organization and establishing a strategy of professional training and development to ensure that those gaps reduce and the capabilities of your people increase.
There are two reasons why you need to continue this commitment to investing in people, despite the fact that we are heading into a recession.
- The more skilled your people are, the more they will give you a competitive edge. As technologies change at a rapid pace, you have to keep up with them. If you don’t, your competitors will.
- Studies indicate that the more you invest in your employees, training them in new skills and giving them better opportunities to progress, the more likely they are to remain in your employ.
Despite the recession, unemployment remains low, and there is incredible competition across the range of jobs. Whether you have vacancies in the factory or marketing jobs that need filling, there is a definite lack of suitable candidates, which has its own consequences for companies looking to fulfill important aspects of their operations.
Investing in your workforce even as the recession bites has a number of other additional benefits too.
As the cost of living truly starts to bite, life is going to get incredibly difficult for people at home. With less money in their pockets, the usual routines that gave their life meaning and rhythm might be constrained now, and it is important for them to remain future-focused to help them remain resilient and strong enough to navigate the next few months. Investing in their professional development will help them maintain that sense of control and power over the direction of their lives and their job and look to drive your organization through the deeper troubles.
- It will help as a distraction.
Knowing that they are still developing and improving will both keep an employee engaged in the workplace, but just as importantly, it will provide a distraction from the impending gloom and doom and help them to keep more focused on the actual job at hand.
- Help towards a return on investment
There are a number of different figures floating around that illustrate the levels of investment that you can expect when training your employees. For example, The Association for Talent Development found that companies increased their overall profitability per head by 218 percent due to the introduction of a formal training program.
During a time of economic crisis, that figure might not be so high, but it does illustrate the absolute importance of maintaining some training structure to keep the workforce focused on moving forward through the recession with a deeper purpose.
- It helps in the recruitment process.
A company that invests in its people soon gets a reputation as being a good employer. And this is the kind of reputation that is crucial if you are going to attract the right level of new candidates. If you can attract and train top talent during a recession, you are creating for yourself a very strong position with regards to being ready and poised to take advantage of the upturn as we come out of recession.
- You’re all in it together.
A great team works together and plays together. While training is still serious business, it is an opportunity for your workforce to step away from daily operations and connect on a different level, getting to know each other away from the work environment. The better they know each other, the better they work together.