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Learning in Tight Economic Times

Training and Development, corporate learning, Planning and Strategy
Posted by user, unknown at Monday, 03/10/2008 9:54 pm
  • Currently 1.7/5 Stars.
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1.7 from 3 votes
With forecasts of a recession everywhere, I've been thinking about how some organizations consistently weather tough economic times, while others suffer tremendously during business slowdowns.

Many executives are now looking to "recession proof" budgets and plans by reducing costs and looking for efficiencies. This is just good business. As a cost center, L&D should always look for ways to increase value at reduced cost.

But we must also take a more strategic role and guide our organizations in building the skills and agility to respond quickly when the business suffers.

Most of us focus on performance-driven programs, designed to solve timely and urgent business problems. From training employees to use a new application to learning support for a product rollout, performance-driven programs drive near-term, measurable business impact.

But to build responsiveness to business downturns, L&D organizations must give equal focus to programs that help the company adapt to change, innovate, and develop strong customer relationships. Programs in this category, which we call talent-driven learning, go beyond skills development. Rather, they build a culture of teamwork, responsiveness, and a willingness to work harder when times get tough.

As learning professionals, we must ensure corporate learning is balanced  that some programs drive immediate business results and others are investments in the future. In the months ahead, maintaining this balance will be one of the most important contributions you can make to ensure your company's long-term success.