With a 10 percent reduction in his company's workforce in late 2008, Stanley Works Chairman and CEO John Lundgren turned his concentration to keeping his employees "motivated, energized, engaged, and focused on company goals." The tool maker posted a better-than-expected 2009 first-quarter profit - proving that successful companies know the value of safeguarding and developing their workforce.
As Adobe President and CEO Shantanu Narayen said in last month's T+D, "Historically, we've had a section in the budget for employee training and development. And to be honest, that's one of the things we never cut, even in tough times. People are the real assets of the company. It is really shortsighted to say you're not going to invest in your people."
You, as learning professionals, have significant influence in the success of talent management initiatives within your organization. Your expertise in competency management, skills assessment, and organization development is vital to a successful talent management strategy. Instead of always looking for ways to trim the budget, find resources within the company to help build employee skills for your company's postrecession success. It is vital that companies have a strategy to grow during this economic downturn, and you play a critical role in this growth.
This month's issue examines learning in this down economy, from engaging employees after layoffs, to the challenges affecting learning in a global economy. There will be many lessons learned and hard times still ahead, but one thing is for sure, the old ways of traveling to week-long training sessions are gone.
This recession has forced learning departments to show the strategic business value of workplace learning and performance. To do that, learning organizations must examine the relevance of each training program that is created and recognize the value in linking all programs to the strategic goals of the organization. Surviving this economy is not just about cutting travel or finding new and efficient ways to deliver training. It's about leveraging existing best practices, eliminating redundancies, and creating programs or situations where employees can learn from each other.
Workplace learning professionals must communicate the business case of learning to corporate executives, become a champion of talent management, and lead change in their organizations, because now is the time to keep learning mission critical.