Should You Cut Employee Training During Lean Times?

employee wellness

Economies are in a constant state of fluctuation. As the markets go up and down, business executives and managers seem to be on edge, worried about the impact the changes will have on their company.

In anticipation of a downturn, many business owners and managers begin to make cuts in the budget to prevent their own economic crisis.

One of the first areas on the budget cut list seems to be employee training. It makes sense, at first.

Why waste money on training when every penny is needed to keep the company afloat?

The reality, however, is that employee training should be one of the last items cut from the budget if you wish to continue your business once the economy goes on an upswing.

Employee Training is Essential

The Association for Talent Development discovered that companies with a comprehensive employee training program had over 200% higher income per employee than those without.

Those numbers are significant when an employer relates “statistical data” to what is happening in their corporation. What manager would refuse an increase in sales of over 200%?

The idea of investing in an effective training program is often overlooked as a cost-saving measure, however. Rather than cutting training, employers who want to thrive during an economic downturn should increase their employee development programs.

Empowering employees through professional development can help prepare your company to accommodate rapid growth when the economy improves and instills a sense of loyalty in employees who recognize that management was investing in their success.

Use the opportunity to cross train employees in new skills. Enhance their productivity with goal setting and time management programs. Offer management training programs to help management improve their skills at leading.

Many managers rely on the economic downturns to help retain employees. Who would leave a good job during a recession, after all? It’s true. Employees are less likely to seek alternative employment when the economy is shaky.

Unfortunately, this temporary reprieve from employee voluntary departures will disappear as soon as the economy starts to grow. In fact, the number of voluntary departures often skyrockets once the economy recovers as a result of what happened during the downturn.

Employees who survived downsizings may grow resentful at their increased workload and decreased salary. Pay-cuts can demoralize employees who view higher paid executives with distrust. Fear and anxiety as a result of management’s lack of communication with employees may cause employees to jump ship for what they deem is a more secure job.

Employee Training Improves Engagement

The truth is, most employees indicate that one of the main reasons they leave a job is conflict with management. A strained relationship, a lack of support and dismal communication all contribute to employees look elsewhere for work.

The counterpart to a bad relationship with management, however, is that a strong relationship between employee and management can compel an employee to stay. During times of stress a strong sense of trust and respect will assist employees in feeling secure in their job.

Want your employees to trust you? Demonstrate your trust in them by offering them training to improve their skills. Further, an employee who has a clear sense of their importance to the company and a strong connection to management will have increased levels of engagement.

An employee who is engaged and committed to their employer will not be phased by economic swings, either up or down.

What training programs can you implement during lean times in preparation for an economic upturn?

Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.

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