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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Consolidate Your Company's Gains from the Recession

help your company keep what you've learned in tough times

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

What? Gains from the recession?

Okay, I admit the last year or so hasn't been much fun for many of us. And in the training business, there's a strong feeling -- one that frankly gets too much public expression at times (see below) -- that the training function sometimes takes a disproportionate share of cuts in hard times, relative to their contribution to the company's success. Many in the training business feel that their companies or clients cut training because it is easy to do, rapidly producing visible savings, only to make the company less competitive in the future because their employees are not as effective at their jobs as they might be.

But with all that said, there are many organizations that will emerge from the recession stronger than they were before. They will have become more efficient, gotten a handle on costs, streamlined their org charts, and, no small thing, commanded everyone's attention in the company, so that the unified view, the culture, is reinforced to an extent that was possible only because of the economic downturn.

The question is, will they emerge only temporarily stronger, ready to drift back to less efficient, less effective ways as the economy gradually gets healthier?

And why does that matter to you?

Many of the recent changes in your workplace were sudden, and clearly connected to a desperate need to respond to terrible economic conditions. Employees acquired new duties (as other employees disappeared), or were told to do things differently, with very little training and support. Frankly, the specter of layoffs or bankruptcy was enough to produce rapid change, to drive employees to undertake new practices.

But because those changes were so clearly tied to economic events that receive a lot of media attention, employees may easily revert to past practices as they follow the news and see conditions improving.

Training and ongoing employee communication are needed to reinforce those recently-adopted practices that the company wants to keep. Employees need to learn that, under the pressure of the recession, the company has discovered some better ways of doing things, ways it wants to keep. Someone has to teach employees that they need to maintain these practices, not to save the company, but to allow it to prosper as the economy improves.

This is a rare opportunity to piggyback on rapid (but temporary) behavior shifts, among employees, to produce lasting "workstyle" change, new patterns of working that produce long term results for the organization.

We want to turn useful new practices, adopted in desperation, into new habits, maintained in prosperity. It is hard to imagine a more important task for the training function in your company.

© 2009 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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