Four tips to recession-proof your learning and development strategy

Many CEOs are preparing for a possible recession by tightening budgets and reassessing spending. If historical data is any indicator, Learning, and Development (L&D) budgets are among the first to take a hit, with more than half of organizations reporting reassessing their training to minimize costs during the 2008 recession. As leaders demand L&D “do more with less,” it’s important to take a strategic approach to learning.

In short, learning has a PR problem. It’s often seen by leaders as a firmly discretionary expenditure rather than a revenue contributor and a part of a long-term investment strategy. Failure to connect the dots between organizational goals and your learning and development strategy can mean trouble for your learning programs and budget. In order to thrive in this current business climate, L&D leaders must effectively demonstrate how learning can help the business reach its strategic goals. Here are four tips to do just that.

Communicate benefits

While we may be preaching to the choir, it’s important to understand, recognize, and communicate the benefits L&D has on an organization. Learning and development programs aren’t just learning for the sake of learning. The right programs have a far-reaching impact on the business, including attracting and retaining talent, improving the agility of employees, and helping organizations get more from their workforce.

In a recent Emergn survey, 75% of respondents stated that strong workplace training has a significant impact on their decision to stay with an employer, rather than seeking opportunities elsewhere, and 55% of learners stated that L&D programs increased job satisfaction and employee morale. Amidst labor shortages and unprecedented rates of job switching, learning programs could offer a solution to the costly issue of employee retention.

Successful learning programs also help organizations upskill the employees they already have, retaining institutional knowledge while avoiding the cost of hiring expensive new talent who already have the required skills. In times of economic and business uncertainty, upskilling employees can make them more agile and better equipped to adapt as business needs change.

Align learning and development strategy with organizational goals and customers’ needs

In order to demonstrate the impact of learning on the company’s bottom line, it’s important to tie learning directly to the organization’s goals. Aligning programs to skills that will move the needle within the next six months demonstrates value when organizations need it the most.

Weave training into the flow of work

In times of economic hardship, it’s important that training doesn’t interfere with day-to-day work and progress. Time is precious – 42% of learners in Emergn’s survey stated that they don’t have the time to participate in workplace training, and only 35% feel their current learning programs are connected to the goals of their team. To increase employee and executive buy-in, L&D leaders must consider how they can provide training that is relevant and non-disruptive to day-to-day activities and responsibilities. Consider self-guided and self-paced learning that offers micro-lessons so learners can more easily integrate it into daily work and immediately build skills.

Report on metrics that matter

Rather than reporting on vanity metrics, such as attendance rates or course completion rates, L&D must focus on metrics that matter to the organization to demonstrate how learning can move the needle on organizational goals. Measuring true impact, such as business outcomes from training, will show leadership the value of learning to the organization, as well as help justify continued investment.

Learning and development can make an impact within organizations during times of economic uncertainty, just as it does in more stable times. By harnessing the power of effective workplace training, L&D can demonstrate value, help organizations reach their goals, and better serve their customers.

Learn how Emergn’s workplace learning programs provide the best opportunity for learners to gain the skills needed to support your organization’s ongoing success.

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