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Promoting T & D


I work for a Japanese insurance company, they are under pressure to reduce budgets - so the training budget has been targeted.

The argument from them is we should recruit people who already have skills and knowledge to do the work, (we are talking about Chartered Insurance Qualifications), If we support and subsidise employees to gain quals, they will only move on.

Remember in Japan most managers are recruited as a "blank canvas" and the company is happy to train them because they are likely to stay with them for a long time (they expect at least 10 years!)

I am finding it difficult to make my case - any help will be gratefully received.
Patricia Cross

8 Responses

  1. Not Offering Training is Worse
    I wish I could find it for you, but I’ve recently seen new research that shows that one of the main reasons staff move on is the lack of training and professional development! And that, in reality, staff loyalty is enhanced by offering training.

    Ultimately, you have to align the training you want to deliver to the business plan set by your sponsors and show how every pound spent will impact on their top line.

    I was recently encouraged by John Bersin in his “Blended Learning Book”, when he pointed out that trimming 1% off the training budget had much less impact on the company finances than offering training that improved the top line by 1%! Indeed, for many organisations, saving just 1% would not even be noticed by those in power.

    And as you know, the training needs of your staff go beyond the qualifications they need to do their jobs. Your company’s success will come in part from building the brand through your people, so it’s important to develop their skills, but make sure you target just those skills that correlate to the business goals. Given the various efficiency drivers behind the need to reduce costs, redundant or superfluous training will soon be identified for cutbacks.

  2. Re-Focus
    This attitude is symptomatic of old ‘industrial age’ companies. In the ‘knowledge age’ getting the most from knowledge workers will be the key competitive differentiator. If you’re not already familiar with the current thinking on ‘intellectual capital’ and specifically the sub-set that is ‘human capital’ then it’s worth looking into and formulating a strategy that will help your business case.

    A comprehensive approach is provided by Tom Stewart’s ‘Wealth of Knowledge’. Should be on the bookshelves of all trainers!

    In the short term one of the things you may need to do is re-engineer your approach to learning. Stop all legacy training – and just focus on the things that will make a real difference e.g. focus on sales training and monitor carefully the benefits or otherwise of all training or learning interventions.

    You should also be using technology to reduce your training costs…if you’re not using e-learning then maybe you should be.

    Hope this helps. I’m currently working on a paper that links L&D with intellectual capital and shareholder value. Let me know if you’d like to be kept in the loop.

  3. Compare and look to regulator
    John and Tim have outlined the main course of action. I would add a couple of things to their points.
    Have a look at what the company is spending on benefits for colleagues. In a company I worked in, comparing the annual cost for feeding staff at lunchtimes to the training budget was an eye opener for the executives.
    Another prong to your approach may be to look at what the regulator for the industry requires as a minimum requirement of competence. Certainly in the UK with the FSA soon to govern the insurance industry, proven competence through learning is high on the agenda. Is there a regulating body of insurance in Japan that supports learning in business and would therefore add to the value of the organisation to clients?
    Lastly, are there any client surveys that indicate a direct link to the value clients perceive from the organisation to learning and training that provided? Making this link will also (hopefully) capture the attention of the purse holders.

  4. Employer of Choice
    A couple more points to add. If we start from the recruitment pespective, it’s unlikely that you will attract the talent that you require if you do not offer additional ongoing training. I remember seeing a survey a few years ago that put training & development at the top of the job seaker’s list. I think it’s because employability has replaced Job Security and employabilty comes partly from keeping skills bang up to date. If you do an internet search on ‘Employer of Choice’ you will find a wealth of information, including info on the inportance of learning and development opportunities to attract good quality candidates. A few quotes for you (from memory): ‘Great talent tends to choose employers who invest in intellectual capital’ ‘If you think training is expensive – try not training’ and ‘If you’re asking what happens if we train everyone and they leave – it’s the wrong question. The question is – what if we don’t train anyone and they all stay?!

  5. Investing in T&D
    When a company seeks cuts in its budgets, of course everyone needs to be prepared to contribute.

    But when a company says ‘let’s recruit the finished article so we don’t have to train’, I actually hear an unstated but perfectly reasonable question: “why should we continue to invest in training? – give us the arguments!”

    Could you usefully reframe the question this way?

    I think there are many really good reasons not to cut training (see my reply here to Sara?) – and the argument for recruiting ‘the finished article’ is surely easily demolished? (Is there such a thing? Where are these ‘finished’ people? – and why should they join US in a competitive market if we won’t/don’t offer to develop them further? Does the ‘finished article’ ever stay ‘finished’? And many more questions like these?)

    Helpful, I hope? I am sure there are many cultural issues involved here, but part of your task may be to help your senior colleagues overseas understand them?

    In my experience, *great* employees in the UK stay with their employers not just because they like the work, culture and pay, but because they will be developed to do even bigger, better jobs. Otherwise, you may only get mercenaries – here today, gone tomorrow. And then, at what cost?

    Many employers estimate the cost of a failed recruit as at least 1 year’s salary (in terms of re-recruitment costs, extra induction, orientation, the damage to other employees’ morale, the loss of customer continuity, management time and the rest). I’d actually suggest for many organisations and critical roles it is even more. What is your experience?

    Good luck!


  6. Link training to success indicators
    When training is clearly linked to the indicators of success that the organisation (read: management) sufficiently values, it will get resourced.

    All you need to do is make the link – simple! See my short series on evaluation here on trainingzone at and at

    Parts 3 & 4 will be along soon!

    There is a danger that in focusing solely on training to support immediate operational performance requirements, you actually miss out on building the capabilities needed for the future, so some training does need to be put in place to support the implementation of the organisation’s strategy. But you can use the same process for doing the strategic stuff as used for the operational stuff.

    I think you may find it easier if you focus in on a few key areas and link the training in to them?

    Good luck.

    Best wishes


  7. the importance of training and developing our own people
    looking not only from a trade union background but also a management side it is a vital part of ensureing longevity in any organisation. Allow your employees to have an ownership approach to not just workforce development but also indavidual improvements pay dividend in the long run. The improvement process cant just happen over night it is never the answer to allow a company to cut the training budget the short term saving is easy to show share holders but lost training or workforce development initatives can never be regained once the initial decision has been made not to endourse training because the three main areas need to work as one for any company to survive SAFETY,QUALITY,PRODUCTIVITY,


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