We mentioned last time how a lack of or less training will impact learners because they will have fewer resources if companies choose to cut back on training. While many of our clients have cut back on training, a few customers realized more training (and possibly even better training) will improve the workforce they have.
Since the recession, there have been quite a few articles warning corporate training companies not to cut back on training. ASTD wrote an article back in August 2008, and Times online backed up those statements with points of their own. When there are less people to do more, for instance, when you have to cut down on your sales force or your call center, maybe you should get the few that are left better trained to handle the new challenges. In some cases, we see corporate training clients revamp their training and better train the remaining employees. Sadly, this is the exception, not the norm.
As a corporate training company and a vendor, we’ve had to respond differently to our clients during the recession. We’ve had to learn to respond differently to our clients: how do we support a training team that has now half the staff that it did last year? Do they need a different type of project plan? Do they need us to stagger things differently? Do they need our project managers to take on larger roles? Can they do as much? Or, do we need to do more? At the same time, we juggle tighter budgets and must now help our clients find a more flexible way to reach their training goals. The solution may involve less technology, but in a way that still gets the job done and doesn’t sacrifice quality.
Personally, we’ve chosen to go with the exception. We realize that we need to step up to earn the trust and business of our clients. Some of the actions we have taken during this recession: 1) grown in personnel, 2) grown in technological offerings. We’ve taken more risks this year than we’ve taken in the preceding good economic years. When companies have to look for a vendor and they have to choose between a company that gives them the usual or a company that gives them more support—especially when they have less people to do more—that support has value. This has been a direct contributor to our growth this year—our ability to align ourselves to a new environment and support our customers and not take the knee-jerk reaction to cut back on our part to save costs.
We are not the only ones. I’ve seen our customers do the same thing. We have customers expanding their training; growth companies in a recessionary year have found ways to empower their employees and reach out to their customers. More than ever, these companies have marketed their training beyond the boundaries of the corporation. And it is beyond these boundaries where companies can scale more using technology that it’s paid off for them. Not surprisingly, in the past five years, Allen and our partners have won over 10 awards for training excellence. Let’s face it, this is not a cost issue but a vision of when and how to invest in one’s growth in a turbulent economy.
As the dust settles on 2009 and we look forward to 2010, look for those exceptional few companies that empower learners with more knowledge, more tools, and more capabilities.
Here’s to hoping we are now heading toward a balance in our spending and our economy.