L&D Feeling the Crunch? How to Future-Proof Your Training Program
COVID-19 caught the world off guard. No one was prepared for the economic fallout caused by lockdowns around the world.
When companies look for ways to cut costs, L&D could easily be on the chopping block. Why invest in your people when you might not have a business in a few months?
Your people are the only thing keeping your business agile and innovative:
- 61% of employees feel they lack the skills necessary to adopt technology that improves their output - WestMonroe's The Upskilling Crisis: Effectively Enabling and Retraining Employees for the Future.
- When employers spend $1,500 in training/employee annually, their profit margins see a 24% boost. - Elearningindustry.com
- IBM saw $30 gains in productivity from investing in employee training - IBM’s The Value of Training
These statistics prove investing in training programs pays off.
But how do you convince C-suite to keep going when times get tough? We have three ways to ensure your training program stays essential, no matter the business climate.
Align for different business climates
To future-proof your program, work out three scenarios for different business climates:
- Cost-cutting budget - What’s the minimum investment needed to give people the skills they need without any bells and whistles?
- Projected budget - How much money would you need to make a more engaging program using L&D best practices?
- Growth budget - If you had some extra money, what could you invest in to drive your business’s competitive advantage? Think VR or simulated training that requires a large upfront investment, but create very effective training.
For each of these scenarios, think about how you’ll use the resources you already have like a learning management system (LMS). Other resources to consider include mentors, subject matter experts, and succession plans.
Plan for vulnerabilities
The first phase of aligning your business with learning objectives will uncover your organization’s strengths and skills gaps. More importantly, you’ll know who has these strengths and weaknesses.
If worse comes to worst and your organization needs to cut positions, L&D can be ready to fill the skills gaps because they’ll already know what skills have been lost. They will also know who might already have those skills or who could be easily upskilled to take over.
L&D can become an essential part of keeping an organization afloat during both bad times because they keep tabs on skills gaps and skills knowledge.
L&D saw a shift in 2020 to a greater focus on measurement, according to LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report. Even though 24% of talent professionals don’t measure learner engagement based on online usage, training programs with robust metrics are better placed to prove their value.
Metrics don’t start by looking at the data analysis in your LMS. They start by determining KPIs and how learning affects those KPIs. Your learning technology has the ability to give you robust data; however, that data is only as good as the question you’re asking.
During the planning process, make a decision on how you’re going to measure the impact of your learning program. If you know what you’re measuring, then it’s easy to adjust your strategy.
Why winning companies keep learning
History is littered with tech companies, even the giants of their day, failing to pivot - Nokia, Polaroid, Kodak, and Xerox. Many even had a competitive advantage.
Amazingly, Kodak engineer Steven J. Sasson invented the first digital camera in the 1970s. The New York Times reported Sasson’s reflection on his invention:
“My prototype was big as a toaster, but the technical people loved it. It was filmless photography, so management’s reaction was, ‘that’s cute but don’t tell anyone about it.’ ”
Kodak couldn’t pivot fast enough. They couldn’t act on an innovation that would later disrupt the market.
BenchPrep’s own business story includes a big pivot. With capital for only a few more months before being forced to close their business, BenchPrep founders stopped selling their test prep software directly to customers and began selling to other businesses, namely test prep companies. Now, the platform has 6+ million users.
Organizations need to keep learning no matter the business climate in order to stay in business. How do you keep learning when everyone is stuck at home? You pivot to remote learning.
We know organizations usually spend months researching and launching their online program options, but no one has months right now. To help during this crisis, we created our Quick Start Program. It offers the three most important things you need to take your online learning program from zero-to-sixty:
- Quick launch (4-8 weeks)
- Learner-centric Platform
- Easy contract terms