Employee training and development has over the years proved to be a valuable way to grow capacity, stay competitive and retain best talents in the organisation. However, we have seen a cut in employee training and development during volatile times when most organisation should be investing in equipping their workforce with the latest skill sets and technological development. The reason for this cut in training budgets is attributed to organisations seeing training and development as an expense rather than an investment. They claim there is a lack of evidence to show a positive return on investment (ROI).


In recent weeks, we have seen the significant economic impact of the coronavirus on financial markets and vulnerable industries such as manufacturing, tourism, hospitality, and travel. Organisations across the globe are on a standstill due to this pandemic, and we are seeing a lot of employees asked to work from home, while some have even lost their jobs.


Organisations are struggling with the financial impact brought on by this pandemic and statistics show that in volatile times like these, employee training and professional development programs are often the first things to be cut off. Even some leaders of top organisations, most of whom are aware of the value of keeping their workers up to date on the latest tools and developments, may feel that training is something they can do without in uncertain times.


However, one of the clear arguments for continuing to invest in training is that well-trained, skilled employees are vital to an organisation’s long-term success. In the big picture, volatile times are relatively short-lived, and an organisation which has trained its workforce will be better prepared and more ready than its competitors for economic upturns.


Nevertheless, over time we’ve seen that during turbulent times like this one, organisations cut off employee training and developments. This cut back to employee training and development sends a message to employees that their professional development is not a priority to the business. This action will likely increase job dissatisfaction, with most employees reducing their work productivity.


In a recent study by bizjournals, employees were asked about what non-monetary factors were likely to make them stay at their current organisation, and many ranked “learning new skills” third (after opportunities for advancement and job redesign).


This shows the relevance of learning in the workplace. Millennials mostly like to advance and improve their skills, and if as an organisation you are not optimising their potentials, then many may leave.


Studies show that the average cost of replacing an employee is around 150 per cent of his or her annual salary. In the long run, an organisation may find that the money it saves due to retention justifies the cost of its training initiatives.


Organisations cannot afford to put the professional development of its employees in the backburner; they often need to evaluate their learning and development strategies the same way they do other business function. By doing this, it will help them ensure efficiency in training delivery as well as reduce cost. Adopting other training programs such as virtual classrooms, e-learning, online coaching/mentoring, and simulation sessions as well as blended learning platforms that align with the organisation’s strategy and goals, will ensure efficiency while ensuring quality is not compromised.


It is also very critical to establish an ongoing feedback and evaluation mechanism around the effectiveness of training activities, and programs as these enable organisations to evaluate the ROI of its training program and adjust as required.


Above all, organisations should strive to offer training aligned to the specific skills, competencies and workforce segments that are most critical to achieving their business goals. Maximising the benefit of training means that a company must deliver the right kind of training to the right people at the right time.


Written by:

Joan Azubuike

Assistant Consultant