The new year has begun charged with many unpredictable factors including: a bad economy, lower levels in consumer confidence and expending, a serious financial crisis, drastic changes in lending practices, increases in personal and corporate debt, a decrease in cash flow and savings, the responsibility of complying with internal and external regulations and policies, the challenge of keeping up with emerging technologies, continuous corporate alignment and realignment efforts, political uncertainty and policy making, significant changes in the workforce and in the workplace, and the impact of internal and external forces that make change more difficult to manage thus remaining competitive in the local and global marketplace with overall effectiveness.

Considering all the factors listed above and the challenges that they impose in changing various markets and their respective businesses, the training and development industry needs to respond with conviction and resolution to cope with this high level of volatility in order to survive and thrive.

Unfortunately, when the economy is bad and companies are facing significant uncertainty, senior management focuses on controlling the operational cost of the corporation by shrinking the workforce and cutting down the training and development budget. This initiative serves the company just as a temporary solution due to the fact that corporate organizations are forced to do more essential tasks with less human resources and HR becomes less relevant to other critical functional areas, which in turn affect seriously every aspect of the business. Therefore, corporate executives should make every effort to transform their fixed training costs into variable and manageable expenses, which translates into improving the bottom line and transforming the way they manage their human talent and overall resources through innovation and creativity thus promoting effective business communication, better integration, cooperation, and collaboration between all functional areas as part of managing organizational change.

As part of embracing innovative and creative alternative ways to cope with so much uncertainty in the corporate culture, a more diverse workforce and a competitive marketplace, the training and development function needs to play a bigger role involving:

•Restoring confidence in the management of human talent and the career development zone.

•Developing highly customized training and development programs to address specific behavioral, performance and productivity gaps. (Avoid conventional and generic solutions)

•Managing the capitalization of critical know-how and knowledge sharing initiatives to promote the collective knowledge of the organization.

•Creating informational, educational and promotional training tools using tacit and relevant simulations.

•Delivering hands-on training using a mix of modalities and managing effectiveness using metrics.

•Building and supporting the corporate training function internally to focus on real and consistent issues.

•Making inclusive changes affecting interdependent operational functions by building coalitions of support and reaching consensus across the board in an effort to promote a healthy and productive working environment.

•Including training and development solutions in every aspect of talent management such as:

Recruiting strategies, hiring procedures, interviewing skills, orientation, cross-functional activities, effective business communication (verbal, non-verbal and written), diversity management (sensitivity awareness), employee relations, corporate structure, strategic and tactical plans, working processes, procedures, corporate policies, standards of performance, total quality management, job-related skills and competencies, the specific know-how of the organization, the specifications of products and services, the corporate culture, succession plans, the value of knowledge sharing, decision making processes, time management, reporting tools and documentation, confidentiality, legal compliance, safety in the workplace, the effective use of productivity equipment and programs, corporate responsibility, senior management and leadership development programs, customer service, conflict management, team building and management, project management, customer relations, new business development, brain storming, the power of networking internally and externally, e-learning, the importance of upgrading skills and competencies using continuous learning and many other critical resources.

The goal is to make training and development an integral part of every organization regardless of the uncertainties that we face this year by creating and adding value in the process. Training and development ultimately is too critical for any business to ignore its value. Another challenging aspect is to globalize learning and make training available to employees by embracing their own local language and culture in order to maximize its global reach and value. Therefore, training and development initiatives and interventions should have a positive impact in every aspect of the business without limitations or red-tape.

Author's Bio: 

Nelson Leon - Director of HRM and Organizational Development with AHRD in New York. He has more than 10 years of progressive experience in the Human Resources Management and Organizational Development function. He is also a subject matter expert in effective business communication, senior leadership development, diversitiy management, intercultural training, relocation preparation, language training programs, facilitation/coaching skills, curriculum design and delivery, talent development, succession planning, translation and website localization.
Life & Business Coach, Training Facilitator, Writer, Speaker.