Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
A while ago, I published an article related to how organizations can save money. I hope you’ll check it out when you have a moment. Sometimes one of the first budgets to get cut when times are tough is training. In my experience, when that happens, sales and service decline and managers complain that the reason they can’t meet their goals is because employees aren’t trained. Sound familiar?
I know you’re thinking the same thing I am. Well of course employees aren’t trained. They didn’t get the proper training because the company cut the budget. Sadly, the company created the situation. And in many cases, they just don’t want to admit it.
The reason I wanted to bring this up is because I was recently on a conference call where someone said that organizations are reluctant to implement training initiatives because they don’t want to train employees and then have them leave. This is the same principle as cutting the training budget. It reminds me of that well-worn cliché “What if I train employees and they leave? Well, what if you don’t and they stay?”
Basic employee training – the kind of training that employees need to do their jobs – isn’t a luxury item. If you cut it from the budget, you’ll pay for it somewhere else. If employees don’t feel that the company supports them by providing the training and tools to do the job, they will go somewhere else. Basic employee training – again, the kind of training that employees need to do their jobs – isn’t a carrot to dangle in front of someone and say, “I’ll tell you how to do your job if you promise to stay.”
Now, that being said, there are training topics that organizations might be able to cut if needed. Maybe training sessions that are considered “optional” and were offered as an enhanced learning experience. It’s possible the company has found the same topics on sites like LinkedIn Learning, which many of us can access for free with a library card.
While I believe that training is important, I do understand that training budgets need regular evaluation. But the notion that companies aren’t providing essential skills to employees because they’re concerned they might leave … seems very short-sighted and not very business focused.
There’s one other suggestion I want to make when it comes to employees and training. This has to do with managers.
- If organizations cut the training budget, the responsibility for employee training falls to the manager. Are they prepared to take on the task? Meaning do they know how to train people?
- If the organization decides to reduce classroom training and rely more on OJT (on-the-job) learning, do managers know how to build those types of activities into their departments?
- If the organization decides to eliminate some of the enhanced learning opportunities because there are outside resources that can offer the same for free, do managers know how to encourage employees to use them?
- And finally, do managers know how to evaluate their training needs so they can ask for help if they need it?
Organizations need to remember that these “cut the training budget” decisions have consequences for their managers. And if managers haven’t been trained, then it’s only making a bad situation worse. Organizations can make changes to their training offerings – including cutting some programs – when the right infrastructure is in place. That includes having trained managers who know what to do.
Train employees so they can do their jobs. Train managers so they can support employees. Make no mistake, employee training is essential for business success.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby at the SHRM Annual Conference in Orlando, FL57