No economy ever remains stable. If they did, we would not have to worry about developing a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan for worst-case scenarios.
One of these scenarios, which has become all too realistic recently, is a recession. As we have seen over the years, recessions are unavoidable. So, what can you do when it does happen?
While often overlooked, organizational training in a recession is essential for businesses and professionals. In fact, it could be the difference between a worrying situation and an opportunity for growth.
Why does organizational training matter?
Even outside the context of economic recessions, organizational training is vital to a company’s survival and its ability to thrive in a competitive landscape.
With proper training, your employees continue to add value to your company the longer they work for you. Training allows them to feel valued and empowered to share their own ideas. To add to that, it helps them to boost their skillset while deepening the relationship they have with your business. It can boost loyalty and even lead to a 30-50% rise in retention rates.
In turn, all of this can result in higher employee engagement — and that ultimately leads to increased customer satisfaction, better quality products and services, and an increase in sales.
As a business providing organizational training, you have the power to choose how to develop your employees. For example, perhaps you want to prepare your company for a digital transformation. Training your employees in this area means everyone will be on the same page as you prepare for a seamless transition.
Organizational training in a recession
It is clear that organizational training is crucial to a business’ success. But why should you focus on organizational training in a recession?
Unfortunately during times of economic uncertainty, training budgets are one of the first things businesses cut. But investing in training can reward organizations with many opportunities. By empowering your employees, you can identify and retain talent to invest in further down the line.
Investing in organizational training means preparing your staff to overcome challenges associated with recessions, from changes in customer behavior to a projected decrease in sales. Moreover, this knowledge can lead to increased productivity and employee engagement.
In addition, organizational training can help prepare employees with essential skills for the recession, as well as the future. Think of it as arming employees with knowledge that helps them and your business grow.
Organizational training may include:
- On-the-job, project-based training
- Online learning to develop business and leadership skills
- Technical training to support hard skills
- Mentorship to develop soft skills
- ESG and compliance training
Overcoming challenges in a recession
It is not surprising that a recession brings with it several major challenges. But organizational training empowers your team so they can address and overcome such challenges during a downturn.
- Staying ahead of the competition
In an economic recession, almost everyone will face new struggles. A particular difficulty many companies have to deal with is the fact that, amid the chaos of the recession itself, they will still face competition.
Smaller businesses will often have a tougher time in this regard. That is because their larger counterparts typically have a bigger budget and pool of resources to help them navigate difficult times. But this is where opportunities arise.
By putting more focus on training employees, companies can prepare employees to overcome specific challenges.
Training geared towards implementing creative thinking and solutions puts employees in the right mindset to approach problems caused by the recession in new, innovative ways.
- Keeping up with new developments
For better or worse, recessions are times of change. That means everyone must stay on top of every new development or risk falling behind.
This is another area where organizational training is invaluable.
Training sessions can update employees on new developments, such as emerging trends and how to handle them. This prepares them for the future by equipping them to deal with the present and makes sure as little information as possible can slip by without them noticing.
- Budget cuts and constraints
Recessions generally come with budget cuts. Items like organizational training are often first on the chopping block. That is why you have got to plan accordingly.
To free up enough space in the budget for organizational training to continue to take place, you will want to carefully manage cash flow. You can do this by choosing the right solutions, including software. This makes it significantly easier to fully prepare for the financial challenges that come with a recession.
- Staying focused
When times get tough, do not panic! While this is a normal human reaction during a difficult time, it is certainly not beneficial for company productivity.
Training your management team to lead with the right skills under pressure will make a huge difference. Consider crisis management and crisis communications programs as part of this.
In addition, you can train employees in soft skills that boost productivity, and workplace health and safety to make sure everyone feels secure. You could even incorporate some wellness exercises to help your team feel calm and confident.
Your organizational training strategy
It is important to know exactly how you are going to structure and present your training to maximize attendance and engagement.
The following points help guide the shape of your plan for organizational training in a recession.
While there are many benefits to training people in-person, it is often much harder to schedule. If your company has any remote or hybrid employees, this becomes much more challenging.
In addition, in-person meetings may require employees to travel, which takes more time out of their day.
While recessions have happened before, you need to make sure the content in your training sessions is up to date.
Providing generic tips your employees could seek out from a quick Google search does not enhance their experience or teach them anything new. Each program should be relevant to each team and the skills they need.
To make sure your employees truly learn from training sessions, it is vital that they are engaged.
Find ways to make the content interactive, encourage participation, and make the experience fun with online polls and games.
Three organizational training best practices
It is not enough to simply offer organizational training in a recession. There are a few best practices to keep in mind to make sure everyone benefits from the program.
1. Digitize wherever possible
In times of crisis, it is more important than ever to make sure things progress smoothly and seamlessly. Going paperless and digitizing as many processes as you can is a great way to do this.
You will not only avoid errors, but you will also be able to free up more time, and possibly money, to focus on organizational training. Processes to consider digitizing include:
- Document management: Digitizing your documents will improve your overall organization and allow instant access for all team members, whether they are based in the office or working remotely.
- Tax payment: Filing your taxes digitally will save you time as all necessary documents are easily accessible.
- Managing accounts payable and receivable: By digitizing these processes and adding automation you can minimize errors, increase efficiency, and access real-time data from any location.
2. Listen to employees
It goes without saying that employee feedback is essential. Get their suggestions to find out what areas they feel would be most beneficial to receive training in. They may also have ideas for the best way to implement training sessions.
In addition, employee feedback can help you fine-tune sessions for future groups, thus, the training is truly equipping employees with the right knowledge and skills.
By paying attention to how they feel about your organizational training sessions, you can learn how to deliver the best possible experience. This leads to better information retention and helps employees feel valued.
3. Make sessions as relevant as possible
As mentioned, it is important to tailor organizational training in a recession to deal with the economic downturn.
Avoid combining training programs with other topics and instead focus on the crucial challenges that the recession will present and the skills needed to tackle them.
This shows your employees that you are concerned with real, current events and gives them the right tools at the right time.
No one wants to consider a recession is imminent. But the reality is that it may be inevitable at some point.
As an organization it is best to be prepared — and few things are as effective as organizational training.
By focusing on training, you are showing your employees that you are committed to their development, as well as that of the organization. This builds trust and loyalty, while helping you weather the economic storm. Invest in organizational training in a recession and you just might find that you come out the other side stronger.