Investing in your staff is an investment in your business

Jun 10, 2020

Your employees are your most valuable asset; neglecting them will be detrimental to your business. Dearbhla Gallagher outlines how to invest in training and development during these difficult times.

As businesses face the economic effects of COVID-19, many are implementing cash management and cost-saving measures. In these conditions, the temptation may be for businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to reduce or eliminate training and development expenditure.

There is certainly a need to manage cash and spend carefully at this time, but extreme caution should be applied when considering cuts to training and development programmes.

While there may be a short-term benefit for a business in taking such a step, the longer-term consequences may be to the detriment of the business. It is widely accepted that investing in training leads to more highly skilled employees, increased motivation, and more engaged and stronger performers.

It is also important to consider the effect on employees of curtailing these programmes, right at the very time that many may be feeling somewhat vulnerable due to the current COVID-19 world.

Employees are the most valuable asset that a business has; in a difficult economic environment, the flexibility, creativity and skills that employees bring can greatly assist a business in working through challenges. The longer-term benefits for a business investing in its employees are also obvious: valuing and investing in the workforce generally leads to higher retention of staff.

Prepare now for tomorrow 

So, how can organisations manage training and development requirements in these difficult times?

Now is the time to re-assess your training methods and the delivery approach. Make greater use of your in-house experts for learning and development purposes to deliver practical and relevant content.

Technology is essential in helping us stay connected. Online communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are an excellent way of delivering learning and development initiatives to remote working staff.

With many employees either working from home or laid-off part time, this might be an opportunity to use the available time to focus on training and development. Use it wisely!

It is also the time to consider external online offerings. Trade bodies, professional services bodies, accounting institutes and many other organisations offer a considerable range of online courses that make learning and training accessible and flexible. Some of these courses are also free.

Evaluation is key

Take the time to evaluate training courses and training and development needs. Consider how best to spend limited resources in the current environment.

Evaluating training courses that have already been provided is also vital as this enables a business to check that staff are being equipped with the right skills and development, and that the training is value for money and aligned with the business’ strategy and goals.

Stay safe while training!

Dearbhla Gallagher is the Learning & Development Manager at Baker Tilly.