By Laurell McManus, Managing Director of McManus HRD

When times are hard and businesses need to cut costs, one of the first things to be cut is usually the training budget. Laurell McManus, Managing Director of McManus HRD which specialises in human resources and training, believes that instead of implementing training cuts indiscriminately, managers should consider how they can train staff more cost-effectively.

Laurell explains:

‘When times are hard, managers often come to the decision to reduce costs by cutting back on training which will reduce costs in the short term, but could do more damage and de-skill their workforce in the long term. Training and development needs to continue for two reasons: Firstly, businesses need to ensure that staff are able to meet their responsibilities, particularly if they are carrying an increased workload because of redundancies. Secondly, once businesses are over the worst, the staff remaining will help the business to maintain a competitive edge. If the skills aren’t there, re-growth will be slow and the business will be left behind by the competition.’

With that in mind managers should be looking to maintain training while reducing costs and Laurell has some advice on how best to achieve this:

•Why train? Why now?
From a business perspective, the aim is to provide the best service and to ensure that the business remains competitive regardless of these hard economic times. Continuous development is the key. No mater how small the organisation, clients still want to know that you have the latest ideas and the best people.

•What is the purpose?
All too often training is seen as a waste of time or a quick fix for a performance issue. A clear purpose and clear objectives help to set expectations for all concerned.

Asking the following questions will help clarify the purpose and help prove the case for training:

-Is this a good time to deliver the training?

-Will the training meet the business need?

-What is the purpose?

-What is the issue that is impacting the business?

-Is there a deadline date for this training to take place?

-As a result of this training what do you hope to achieve / see?

•Training Methods
Ask your training team to carry out a Training / Organisational Needs Analysis. Training doesn’t necessarily need to be a day or week away from the daily tasks. Training and development could be carried out by considering the following:

oOn the job Training

Shadowing someone who already has the necessary skills



Job rotations

oOff the job Training


Courses / qualifications

Simulations exercises

Laurell goes on to say:

‘Training should still take place, but successful businesses will need to learn to make the best with less and ensure training is still having an impact. In summary, is training still necessary? Yes now more than ever. Does the cost of this need to be high? Definitely not, it just needs some thought and careful planning!’

For more information about McManus HRD, please visit www.mcmanushrd.com