In the old days, any threat of uncertainty to continuing business was met with a harsh budget-slashing process impacting people development. Your mantra was that you have to save money, which means you cannot afford to invest in people. Never mind the alternative mantra of 'you cannot afford not to do so' because no one is listening, no matter how often or how loud you say it.
Mid-COVID business impact
Now, forget post-COVID scenarios and consider Mid-COVID realities. As we move towards the festive season, it is tough for many organisations to create a viable business and prepare people for the challenges of 2022.
So, how tough will it be to equip organisations with the right people, attitude, and skills to shape things for 2022? It is going to be a challenge, and we need to develop a new business for all L&D activities. That starts with business planning and risk assessments.
It does not matter what type of business or organisation you run or manage. This is true for not for profits, charities, large state public-sector bureaucracies, the commercial sector and social enterprises.
What is the bottom line of investing in our people?
The thesis is to be careful where you invest your scarce energies and resources. Above all, ensure that investment generates a positive ROI (return on investment) for your organisation.
In tough times, organisations slash training budgets, and so-called essential L&D activities are delayed, postponed or dropped. It does not have be the case if those organising and delivering L&D prove their value.
Invest your energies with positive returns
Ask yourself, why would anyone commit people and resources to 'activities' that do not meaningfully make business achievement easier?
Does it not make more sense to focus on those things that add tangible value. Our understanding is that every L&D activity should be appraised quickly by asking, 'does this enable business results to be achieved quicker, easier and more efficiently?'
If the answer is vague and unsubstantiated, then discontinue activity in that area. In a competitive world, we should prove a robust causal link between 'L&D delivered' and 'business improvement'. Any activity that fails to fulfil this equation is a 'nice to have' rather than an 'essential' activity.
Gone are the days when the average organisation could experiment by committing unlimited resources to non-tangible development processes, hoping that these would positively impact morale and productivity. Now, most businesses are appraising their L&D activities along simple 'value-added'.
We coach managers to add credibility to their HRD activities by challenging them to assess what they should do 'more of' and 'less of…'.
- What two areas of 'technical' knowledge would, if were they delivered effectively, quickly improve the performance of each business process or unit?
- How can we reduce the time taken to master those things that immediately impact speed, customer delivery, effectiveness, quality, safety, and team performance?
- What do we need to do to ensure that people move quickly along the 'competence curve' to doing, rather than just knowing?