Here is where the real issue lies. Although organisations agree that this is a crucial topic during an economic downturn, the most common outcome is that this training is the first cost to be axed. Most of the literature and the articles I read support my, with nearly all researchers emphasising the importance of continued training during economic adversity. The majority of the literature advocates a continued commitment to training and development. Nevertheless, according to the research I reviewed, most agree that training is the first area to be cut in a financial crisis. Although researchers clearly outline the gains for an organisation and its employees in many organisations, the concern is reactive cost control, initially intended over the short term. Hence the “feel good factor” effect of training on staff becomes a “nice to have”.

Looking at my experience with past employers, the benefits of continued training to an organisation in an economic downturn align with the conclusions of studies I have explored.

The importance of training and its relevance in an economic downturn was evident in my professional career.

Systemic Approach

Ultimately, it incentivises employees to remain committed to the organisation. Skills development will benefit employees and the organisation through increased productivity and efficiency.

As for technical training (e.g. Software, engineering, etc.), this is often mandatory, so the organisation must ensure that it complies with industry standards.

In this context, you need to ensure that the employee is part of the solution to adapt to the downturn. In addition, you also need to make the employee believe in his professional future, which goes through long-term « investment » in them and reassure them that they will still have a job and the organisation will still be there. Training is an investment for the long term.

In my interviews, participants unanimously agreed that despite the corporate message and the internal employee development strategy, training was stopped (unless required to conduct business).

Participants agreed that productivity goes down when the employees spend less time thinking of the organisation’s future than their future.

Doing continuous training « forces » them to consider as a fact that 1) the future-proofing organisation is safe as the organisation is thinking long-term despite the short-term problems and 2) the future of the employees is safe as the organisation invests in them to increase their position/choices within the organisation long term…after the downturn.

In times of economic recession, it is imperative to use this time and see how your organisation can grow, highlighting issues such as development and professional training. Denser corporate phases permit us to concentrate on professional development and business maintenance.


  • Sunita Sehmi

    Organisational Dev I Exec Leadership Coach I Author I Mentor I

    Walk The Talk

    Org Dev Consultant I Exec Leadership Performance Coach I DEI Warrior I Author I Mentor I Work smarter I Live better I Think deeper. With over three decades of expertise in multicultural environments, Sunita brings a unique blend of Indian, British, and Swiss heritage to her consultancy, fostering a deep understanding of organisational contexts and her clients. Sunita’s insights and expertise are tailored to elevate your leadership.