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Smart Businesses Keep Investing in L&D

As the economic climate contributes to be challenging there is continued pressure on the Company learning and development budget and L&D Managers across all sectors are challenged to review their expenditure to see how they can make further cuts. Learning and development is often one of the first activities to go in a challenging economic context but isn’t now more than ever the time to invest in learning and development? Smart businesses think it is. With many organisations challenged with headcount restrictions there are less people to do the same amount of work and businesses are constantly challenged to “achieve more with less. Organisations need highly motivated, skilled staff who know how they are rated, feel valued and are clear of what is expected of them.

There is much talk of employee engagement and gaining the discretionary effort that makes the difference between competent performance and excellent performance. If businesses turn their backs on L&D in this climate of austerity what is there to motivate people to give this extra effort? Now is a crucial time to get closer to staff by continuing to invest in their learning and development. It’s a time to “upskill” and prepare for growth. Rather than reducing the amount of L&D focus, smart businesses are ensuring their priorities are right. Businesses are reviewing their practices to ensure they are investing in the right people with the right skills, attitudes and behaviours to survive and thrive through the economic challenges and into a period of sustainable business success and growth. Investment now will enable businesses to be best placed to handle the upturn when it comes. Companies who keep investing will have the right skills in place and will be able to retain their good people who won’t be interested in looking towards their competitors as alternative employers as they will know that their own Company “invests in their people better”.

As always, it is the good, marketable people companies want to keep and L&D is one way in which this can be achieved. L&D is a key “value-add” that organisations can give their employees and as any good graduate recruiter will tell you this is one of the key elements to attract and keep good people (achievement, development, recognition).

The focus of the work of Bluebrick Consulting is on leadership development and how effective leaders engage and inspire their teams and these are the people who will lead companies out of business challenges and into business success. “It’s easy to be seen as a good people manager when life is good” says Carrie FitzGerald. “Big pay rises and bonuses make people management easy. The test of real leaders is how they can lead their people through challenging times. The best leaders and managers will step up to the helm and will steer the ship with a steadying influence when times are uncertain. Staff search for good leadership when times are tough and that’s why the smart companies continue their investment in essential leadership and people management skills.” As the Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development recently said “knowing when to batten down the hatches is undoubtedly important. And it may be enough in the medium term to deliver a survival strategy. But it won’t support growth, nor an advantaged position, for the longer term.” So, a crucial time to invest? You bet. Now is the time to continue investing in the right development for the right people as it is these people who will help us survive and overcome these difficult times and will move the crisis to a challenge and then onto an opportunity. “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership” says sociologist Faye Wattleton. So now is a crucial time to invest in our sailors and ensure they are seaworthy.