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Seven reasons to invest in training during a downturn

25th Jan 2012
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Garry Marsh, director of THM Business Simulations, argues that there are seven essential reasons why training is the one thing that should not be subject to major cutbacks.
Whether you're a head of development or a personnel or HR manager, if you're responsible for staff training or learning and development in your organisation you may be finding bosses are less willing to invest in training. With the economic climate the way it is, many business leaders are being more cautious with budgets when it comes to staff development. So what is the best way to help business leaders see just how valuable training is, especially during difficult times?
With businesses across all sectors facing tough economic conditions, it can be hard for companies to know what to invest in and what to cut back on in order to make savings, without cutting corners or letting reputations suffer. As an experienced training consultant I work with some of the most successful companies around today and it may surprise you, but they are all continuing to spend on training despite the tough economic climate. 
Here's some insight into why these leading companies are continuing to invest. Could any of these training benefits work to convince your organisation of the need to protect your budget?

Get it right first time 

It's well known that you reduce costs when you deliver your products or services right first time every time. Training your staff to understand this, and importantly, do it, lowers overall costs and improves the experience you deliver to your customers. And that creates revenue.

Keep employee satisfaction high 

Employee satisfaction directly relates to customer satisfaction, and so to sales. When bonus payments and pay rises are not in the budget then training becomes a personal investment that you can make in every employee's future.

Train your managers

Many of them may not have had to manage in tough times before. Investing in management development training builds the skills they need to manage your people through challenging times and helps reduce the loss of the best talent from your organisation.

Focus on customer experience

Retaining loyal customers is much cheaper than finding new ones and most of the experience that your customers have is driven by your people. Customer experience training can create competitive differentiation and be the deciding factor when customers make critical purchasing decisions.

Spend less, get more

When training budgets are being reduced the best suppliers may be the smaller, innovative companies with great ideas and low overheads. They understand the need to keep budgets tight, deliver great value, and help build for the future. These guys don't bid the highest price and they don't charge you to cover the costs of their own big HQ buildings, but they do give you value for money, lower cost per head and a better ROI.

Be ready for the upturn

Whilst the economic news may be tough, there will be an end to it and the most successful people and companies will be ready to take advantage of the upturn as soon as it comes. Retaining and enhancing skills now will mean you're first to the new opportunities when they come, rather than scrabbling around trying to hire back and retrain the talent you lost.

Look after yourself

Finally, choosing a great training partner can really help you to come up with new ideas, find ways to lower costs whilst increasing ROI, and drive sustainable improvement in your business. At THM one of our key objectives is to help make our clients look good inside their own organisations. If you do well, we do well. 
Next time you talk to your boss about staff development why not raise some of these points? Whether you want your company to be fit for the upturn or to improve employee satisfaction levels during difficult times - they will almost certainly thank you for it in the long run.

Garry is director of THM Business Training and has worked extensively with large corporate customers including Microsoft and MSN, British Telecom, Amex, Disney, Schneider Electric, AXA, StepStone, GfK/NOP and Environ. He is also an accomplished conference speaker and was the keynote speaker at the Gartner CRM conference in 2011. For more top tips from Garry Marsh and THM, The Business Training People, please visit www.thmbiz.co.uk

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