The pandemic has hit businesses and the economy hard. In times of tightened belts and recessions, Learning will be amongst the first things that companies drop. On the face of it, it makes sense: Learning rarely results in instantaneous financial results. However, this short-sighted approach can make it more difficult for businesses to adapt to the current challenges and thrive quickly when growth conditions are favorable.
Right now is the time to invest in learning. Here’s why.
1. Morale Needs Help
Employees, even those in secure jobs in secure industries, don’t exist in a vacuum. For a year now, they have taken in news headlines and been worried about factors as diverse as their health to ensure their children’s development isn’t hindered.
Right now, employees are working in an environment where the unemployment rate is the highest it’s been for years (6.5%), with predictions that it will continue rising yet, culminating in 2.2 million unemployed by the end of 2021. GDP shrank by 9.9% in 2020, the worst we’ve seen since 1709. At the end of January 2021, 4.7 million workers were on furlough.
It would be naïve to assume that employee morale is currently robust, even if the obvious signs don’t show as much of your workforce is stuck at home.
How does learning help? Showing your employees that you are still investing in their Learning and development boosts morale by demonstrating your commitment to them. This bolsters employee satisfaction and aids engagement. While bonuses and pay rises may be impossible right now, learning can be low cost.
2. You’ll Be Ready to Succeed
Downturns, even those spurred by pandemics, don’t last forever. There are clear signs that the end is in sight, and many economists predict a V-shaped recession. This means that while the downturn was marked and swift, the recovery will be equally fast too. It would be best if you were ready to take advantage of this as soon as possible, as it will likely be your most significant opportunity for competitive advantage against those who aren’t prepared.
How does learning help? Competitors will be cutting Learning, so this is your chance to pull away from the crowd with greater skills and efficiencies gained through Learning. With an investment in Learning now, you’ll be ready to take advantage of the upturn.
3. Talent as You Need It
Whether you’ve lost talent through cuts, through natural attrition, or fear-filled employees jumping ship, businesses are constantly being depleted of talent during hard times unless it is actively being grown.
How does learning help? Learning enables you to hold onto the talent you want to retain and upskill talent to replace those you’ve lost. You need to invest in Learning so that your remaining employees are knowledgeable and skilled and can carry the load of lost talent. Investing in Learning is cheaper than recruiting new talent, and that’s before you consider the time it takes to get recruits up to speed.
4. Now’s the Time to Innovate
The businesses that are not just surviving the current downturn but are actively doing well have embraced the challenge of the pandemic and smashed down the box. Their out-of-the-box thinking has enabled some businesses to innovate and use the current obstacles as opportunities for success.
How does learning help? Learning inspires innovation. Directed appropriately, it encourages managers to inspire through leadership and encourage creative thinking. Fresh ideas and new approaches spurred on by training and development are desperately needed right now.
5. Learning is More Cost-Effective Than Ever
With downward pressure on learning and development delivery, because most struggling companies will cut it as a priority, there are excellent learning opportunities to be had at a low cost at the moment. Training suppliers deliver exceptional courses at a fraction of their usual price, primarily where they were once offered in person and are now being delivered online.
How does learning help? Now is the time for businesses to snap up great deals on courses that can be delivered remotely. Upskill your workforce for a fraction of the usual cost but reap the same rewards.
Invest in Learning with Intention
Choose to invest in-applicable, cost-effective Learning for your workforce right now and see them engage and innovate, giving your business the resilience to come through the current downturn.