Training Is Under Pressure. Can You Save It?

Stop me if this sounds familiar:

The senior leaders of your organisation talk about innovation.

How adaptability, agility and creativity are essential.

Without learning new skills and staying at the cutting edge, failure is inevitable.

With such hype, they’re clearly fans of the learning and development.

But then…

As soon as anything needs cutting, training gets the axe.

What’s the deal there? Are these leaders lying or something?

Not necessarily.

See, here’s the challenge from their perspective:

The senior leaders have some tough calls to make. Every department and function claims they’re essential. So what do they do? They turn to the data.

Sure, there’ll be some obvious things they can trim, defer or outsource. That won’t get them very far though. Even once those are gone, they still need to refine the business. So they look through the evidence.

Department A makes tens of millions of dollars a year.

Department B attracts 40% of new all new customers.

And the learning & development team… ran some courses.

Even if you love training, that’s an easy decision to make. The others demonstrate their value, learning & development doesn’t, so they bear the weight of trimming.

The current situation puts pressure on everyone. I know some organisations have scrambled to install a digital learning platform. The next few weeks and months will be a long slog to learn the new system, learn how to deliver training over it, all while somehow meeting their business-as-usual obligations in the meantime.

I hope the organisations are grateful for their efforts.

But their leaders are under pressure too. They may have to cut, defer or outsource something. Maybe now to get through this, maybe later to streamline things.

Now, more than ever, you need to prove your value.

It’s not enough to work hard and to convert a hundred face-to-face courses to eLearning. Those are your duties – and I hope they earn you some kudos.

To prove your value, you have to show how essential you are.

You have to demonstrate the impact you have on the organisation.

It’s not as easy as pointing to sales figures. You’re an enabler, which means your value is less direct, less easy to quantify.

Yet quantify it, you must.


The first step is a learning program evaluation, for all your courses – or at least the core ones.

That measures what your course do and why.

And, rather deliciously, where you spend your resources… and what you can do with more.

It’s the beginning of the conversation about the value you really add to the organisation.