We are a food firm with a lot of specialist roles, and the business has now removed the entire L&D budget to save money. We didn’t have in-house L&D resource but we were at least able to send some of our key employees to external conferences and seminars to top up their technical knowledge. How can I persuade our directors that stopping this is a short-sighted move that could cost us staff in the long run?
I thought the days of L&D cost-cutting were over. But it seems they may be making a comeback. That doesn’t make a lot of sense when businesses are experiencing widespread skills shortages, since learning is a way both to retain valuable employees and to upskill them to grow with the company.
Your response to this challenge should be to gather data. Look at employees and teams across the company and find out, from managers and other trusted individuals, where there are concerns about their capability to shift with the business. That will be vital ammunition to demonstrate to leaders that money spent on learning will impact on the bottom line.
But you should also be prepared to be innovative, to demonstrate that you understand their fiscal concerns. There are plenty of things you can do to encourage learning that cost little or nothing – including inviting external speakers in, encouraging staff to tap into online resources and networks, and making champions of particularly enthusiastic and skilled employees who can share knowledge with others.
Personal development has never been more important to employees, and we’ve never been less certain about what the jobs of the future will look like. Both factors suggest that we need greater investment in learning to encourage a continuous development mindset. Hopefully your bosses will grasp the opportunity.