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Downsizing The Training Function


I am conducting some basic research in to the perceived value of the training function by looking at how it is treated during times of organisational stress, e.g. during a period of poor financial performance or as a result of a merger/acquisition.

I'm happy to receive responses off-line too.

Many thanks in advance

Martin Schmalenbach
Potential Energy Ltd
Martin Schmalenbach

4 Responses

  1. Downsize to disaster
    In troubled times the Training Function is or always seems to be the first to go which is a bit unfair as Training is a useful tool to engineer change.

    It is always my belief that downsizing affects organisational vitality (well being of a company)and when applied to a business whole is just glorified asset stripping (Strip down to bare minimum and become suspeptable to hostile take over – we see this happen time and time again).

    The laws of the jungle always dictate that those who can adapt and learn new skills will survive, that is what Training is good at, giving employees a chance to get ahead of the game.

    Learn Develop & Adapt.

  2. We kept training going…
    Hi Martin

    Three years ago I was working in the UK for a Japanese owned software research and development company. We hit a difficult patch and measures were taken to reduce costs – including redundancies. A decision was made at senior level not to reduce the training function or its budget.
    The reason given for this was that the company still had to have the skills necessary to grow and develop in the market place. Also, we wanted the remaining staff to see that we were still planning and investing in the future.
    Yes, we did get comments along the lines of “how can we justify money on training x when y has just lost his job?”, but once it was pointed out that without that training x would not be able to keep up with industry standards and so we would lose more business, staff began to see the logic behind what we were doing.
    It was a difficult time, and thankfully we came out of it a stronger team and to this day I’m convinced that the decision made was the right one.



  3. ASTD

    ASTD’s annual ‘State of the Industry’ reports and case studies address these issues, including real-world examples describing how commitment to training and development was sustained under the conditions you’ve described.

    Visit the ASTD website for more details.

    Hope this is useful.

    Best wishes for a successful research project.


    Scott G. Welch

  4. Usually the first to go!

    I worked for a large IT company which went through a merger 2 years ago to become the largest IT company in the world (not giving any hints here!). In my office we had a training team of 8 which after the merger was reduced to 3, then 2 and now there is 1 person responsible for training remaining. It was devastating to see all the hard work and enthusiasm for training just wiped out. Not that I’m bitter at all.


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