A key duty of any leader is to develop the team below them; this can be done in two ways through work experience or through learning. Learning is so important to an organisation today, particularly one that is keen to maintain progress rather than wither on the vine. Yet it is all too often neglected particularly when time becomes available to undertake it as business slows. Prepare during a recession for the good times ahead, for if you don’t those good times will never come. As organisations cut costs one of the easiest things to cut is training and yet in the good times, when people are busy, there is no time to train; that is why effective training or learning rarely happens.
Return on learning to an organisation is all too often ignored and hence the case for training pales into insignificance when compared to the far more tangible return on technical investment. So what does learning give an organisation and its employees?
When people learn they develop and self development is a key component of satisfaction and self fulfilment. Both of which are constructs of personal happiness. Happy people work better and, as attitude is infectious, they help others work better.Happy people don’t seek opportunities elsewhere. They are loyal to their contemporaries and to an organisation even with promises of greater financial remuneration elsewhere. Happy people exploit opportunities and optimise their initiative and potential for the good of an organisation.
Organisations with a learning culture are organisations that believe in their people and they invest in the development of their people to invest in their business. It takes about a years worth of salary to replace an individual in terms of recruitment, knowledge development and organisational understanding according to Price Waterhouse Coopers. Keeping staff happy and loyal is obviously a sound investment. In addition individual learning contributes to an organisation’s continuous improvement and that is essential to fend off competitors. Furthermore strategically individual learning underpins longevity as succession strategies are planned and trained for throughout an organisation’s structure.
UK companies that want to maintain or enhance their business position need to take learning far more seriously. They need to consider it as part of their overall return on investment; because people and knowledge have become an organisation’s principal assets, as technology now gives a shorter lived and more expensive return on investment. The time is right to start taking training seriously if businesses are to empower their people to exploit the post recession opportunities!