When I talk with people about the learning and development efforts of their organization, I always feel a little bit bad for those who say that “there is no budget for training.” Employee development is the foundation for long-term viability in any industry. Conversely, largely undeveloped work groups are the ones that tend to fall behind, reinvent the wheel with each new project, and generally have a difficult time keeping the best employees.
The economy was bad in 2008. Not only that, but many budgets were tighter than usual due, in large part, to those budgets having been created during a time where two very distinctly different leaders were vying for the White House. With uncertain Leadership and a tumultuous fiscal situation, it was no wonder that organizations weren’t spending as much. However, ASTD (The American Society for Training and Development) estimates that U.S. organizations spent approximately $134 billion on employee learning and development in 2008, in spite of all the logical reasons not to make this investment.
Imagine an author who refused to learn to use a computer. Picture an athlete that never worked to build endurance. Think of a doctor that didn’t understand medical equipment. The hardships they would face are similar to what it is like for an organization that doesn’t invest in employee learning and development. Can that author, athlete, doctor or organization be successful? Technically, you’d have to say yes, although, realistically, the statistical odds would be astronomically long. In today’s world, it is too difficult to compete against others that make themselves better–especially with self-inflicted growth and development issues.
Every organization should be investing in learning and development for it’s greatest asset–it’s people. Every organization, based on the ASTD research shared above, should assume that the competition is making that investment. There is definitely a cost associated with that. With that kind of price associated with not doing it, doesn’t it make it logical to use that same money to make the organization more competitive and effective?