Recently, there has been much focus on the effects of the current economic downturn and impending recession, including streamlining businesses by cutting budgets. The survey, ‘Staff training during an economic downturn – opportunities and threats’, was designed to establish the views of HR professionals regarding the importance of training and learning in uncertain economic times.
Key findings emerged when HR professionals were asked about the effect of the economic downturn on training budgets. An overwhelming 80% agree that cutting training budgets at this time causes more problems than it solves, while 83% acknowledge that staff training is just as important during recession as when times are good.
Commenting on the research, Dr Dirk Thissen, managing director at IMC (UK) Learning Ltd, says: “The research clearly shows that HR professionals place a high value on training staff whatever the economic situation, which is extremely encouraging. During times of economic uncertainty more than ever it is essential to have a competent, skilled workforce. What is worrying, however, is that training budgets are high on the list of cuts when streamlining a business operation. It is clear that HR practitioners will be asked to do more with less as recession sweeps the UK.”
Adaptability is also seen as a key requirement from training when times are challenging. Over four in five (87%) respondents agree that it is important for training to adapt quickly and efficiently to organisations’ changing needs during an economic downturn. A similar number (88%) say that the ability to train both large and small numbers of staff cost effectively is important.
Thissen continues: “HR professionals are looking for flexibility from their staff training. Whereas they might previously have had the luxury of using a selection of training tools and methods, reduced budgets mean they must be able to produce and adapt materials to suit a variation of situations. With the increased development of eLearning tools and web based solutions, such as learning management systems and rapid authoring tools, HR practitioners can do exactly this. Content can be created quickly and efficiently and all learning activity can be combined in a single platform that can be adapted to specific business processes.”