Invest for the future

1 min read

Safeguarding investment in training during a downturn is one way for managers to prove what they mean to say.

With news stories that refer to the current economic downturn hard to escape of late, it is hardly surprising that, aside from personal restraint, companies large and small are examining their balance sheets and looking to trim the cost of doing business. As salaries in the high tech industry make up a large percentage of these costs, the headlines have come thick and fast about lay offs, with semiconductor manufacturing – especially in the memory sector – already particularly hard hit. There are dangers in following an automatic policy of reducing expenses in this way though, as companies in this sector have learnt to their cost in the past: making people redundant and recruiting again later when the market picks up is very expensive. ACAS chief executive John Taylor noted recently: "Many organisations that were quick to lay off people in the last recession struggled to meet renewed picked up. The challenge facing all employers is to engage the workforce for the challenges of today and prepare the organisation for the opportunities tomorrow brings. "The light at the end of the tunnel may seem a long way off, but those employers that treat people well now will benefit from less workplace conflict and a more committed workforce." As Taylor intimates, it is not just those staff that are directly in the firing line that suffer. Those that remain within an organisation after redundancies often face a turbulent period of readjustment – both to the added responsibilities of looking after their ex-colleague's workloads, as well as their own; and the effects to general morale that significant change can bring. Jackie Orme, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), commented: "Managing people so they are motivated and committed to the organisation has never been more important than it is now. Many employers are looking to their employees to develop new ways of working to cut costs and boost productivity, often in an environment where people have lost colleagues to redundancy. In these circumstances the extent to which employees are engaged and willing to go the extra mile for the organisation is critical."