Developing our number one asset – our colleagues – the people who make our organisations achieve, is often spoken about in strategies and board meetings as a key priority. Developing talent is then passed into human resources and learning and development functions; some projects are initiated, then picked back up and revisited a year later. Clearly not in all cases, some businesses – often the best – are genuine learning organisations, where the art of continuous learning, right throughout their business, is integral to their DNA.
As we move further into very uncertain and challenging economic times, it is vital that we remember the art of learning and ensure the development of our colleagues remains an absolute priority.
Why? It makes sense for both parties…
- Uncertain economic conditions can lead to significant worries for the people within our business. Job security, paying mortgages and all of the other pressures can become more real for many people. In the right environment, people want to be better, improve, and develop their skills to ensure they are at the forefront of supporting their business through challenging times and therefore minimise any potential risk to themselves.
- People are often at their best when times are hard. People within businesses often know their business, their sector and their competitors better than anyone. They naturally want to innovate and find new solutions when their backs are against the wall. By freeing up time to learn, focus is given to the learning topic at hand, but it’s also a chance to reflect, think and innovate. By developing talent giving people that time to learn, they will find solutions.
- Learning and development is a great way to enhance confidence, protect well-being and generally build the feel-good factor. Like going to the gym, developing new skills, knowledge and behaviours can trigger a real sense of pride and confidence. The opportunity to learn when times are hard can be a positive force for good, supporting people during tough times.
- We need the best skills, the best talent and the best knowledge more than ever before. Covid, Ukraine and Brexit have delivered the most uncertain times for generations. Developing our people and supporting them to be their best is absolutely business-critical.
- Traditionally significant economic challenges bring very high levels of unemployment, ensuring that talent is more available. However, this period of economic uncertainty is unique. In the last two or three years, over 2.5 million people, some suggest it’s a higher figure, have left the labour market. Unemployment rates are climbing a little but are still very low, and the total number of vacancies across the UK is still very high at over 1.2 million. Therefore, talent is still at an absolute premium, and we must do all we can to retain and attract. Supporting people’s development can be a massive part of the retention and attraction piece.
- Our business’s reputation can be hugely impacted by what people who are currently or previously part of the business say about us. Whispers that develop over time have been replaced by instant reviews. Job boards and recruitment websites are turning more and more to ‘rate the business’. People who have been invested in, developed, nurtured, and supported will say this. People who have not will say so!
- More positive times are ahead. Who knows just how long the economy will shrink?
Returning to stability and then growth is something we will hope for as quickly as possible. One thing is certain: it will happen, and when it does, our business and organisations will need the best talent to ensure we maximise the opportunities and reap the rewards!
At Salford City College Group, we support over 500 employers with talent development through outstanding apprenticeship and business training programmes. Last year, over 70% of the 1,700 apprentices we supported were over the age of 19, working hard to develop their careers and talent further and furthering their ambition.
If you think we can help you, please email: email@example.com or call 0161 631 5555