Opinion / Leadership

Lee Yat Thong , Consultant, China

Many a times, companies do away with training & development activities due to economic slowdown instead of using the opportunity to consolidate competency as preparation of rebounce of economy.

I have seen and experienced how decision makers in organizations take a rather short term view about investing in one of its core asset, its people. At the slightest sign of slowdown, one of the major casualties would be learning and development (L&D) activities. This is can proved counter productive as economic slowdown represents good opportunities to focus on competency consolidation. Organizational learning and development ought to be a continuous endeavor of organizational renewal, and since organizations learn via its people, it is imperative that learning and development must be taken as one of the strategic initiatives of organizations.

However even my own organization is guilty of the same, despite with more than 160 years of history and profitability. Competency building is ignored in tandem with the economic slowdown. Organizations should continuously rebuild and restructure their competencies as building blocks for new strategic requirements vis-à-vis new business trends. Successful organizations are those with ability to renew their organizational knowledge and skills set to redefine their landscape, and this can only be achieved by constant competency harnessing. In today’s war for talent, competent human capital is seen and acknowledged as an inimitable differentiator against competitions.

But by ignoring people development, there are business risks as the hidden costs of ignorance are always inherent higher than the people development costs. Reducing L&D activities mean organizations chose to play catching up instead of defining the rules of the game. The mantra for organizational renewal should always be; prepare our people for the worst case by being agile; that would be the hallmark of a sustainable organization.

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