Talent Development and Cost Optimisation – Are they Compatible?

Peter Lawrence, Operations Director and Principal Consultant, humancapitaldepartment

Many organisations across the GCC are having to reduce costs in the light of low oil prices and the new economic environment that this heralds.

Training [which the ATD estimates to be $1,208 per employee per year] is often seen as a cost that can be reduced without any impact on the business and sometimes just a perk without any real business value. Occasionally this view is justifiable; I remember working in one company where an [expat] individual wanted to go to Bali to do a NEBOSH Certificate course, when the same course was available locally – nice try!

Yet the development of individuals – that is preparing them for the next job role – is essential to support the organisation’s goal of nationalisation; attracting and retaining talent, and being an employer of choice. How can cutting training & development budgets be compatible with investing in people and employee development?

A decision to turn down a spurious training request should be easy but some managers seem to lack either the expertise or more likely the political appetite to make “tough” calls on whether or not a training course is appropriate. Providing clear guidance to managers and employees can really help ensure that the organisation gets best value from the training investment and makes immediate savings on eliminating unnecessary requests.

A “Training and Development Curriculum” [as part of the Job Family Model] helps managers and employees identify which training courses are appropriate to the individual – courses are selected by Subject Matter Experts and approved by a governing committee that can be populated in a learning and development portal.

These training and development activities are mapped to a technical and behavioural competency framework, which helps direct and drive performance by letting employees know what is expected in both the current role and the next position on the Job Family ladder, thus providing a “road map” of future career progression within the organisation.

In this way, spurious training requests are automatically declined by managers, as only training courses and development activities that have been identified by the Subject Matter Experts are approved, resulting in an immediate cost saving [typically 10% of training budget or $422,800 per year in a 3,500 employee company]. The training courses undertaken are directly relevant to the delegate’s job role or as part of preparation for the next role.

In the Job Family Model much more emphasis is placed on learning on the job [80/20 rule], for example through developmental assignments; leading a project team, or being part of a committee tasked with addressing a specific business issue. A training course on its own, is rarely the whole solution, as learning needs to be contextualised.

Peter Lawrence from “human capital department” will be explaining how to implement the Job Family Model in your organisation at #ATDME seminar in Dubai on 30th May 16