“Today many companies have to live in a mode of economy, but the requirements for training and qualification of personnel in difficult times are increasing many times, – said Tatiana Pantsurkina, business coach, consultant at the Center of Psychology of NSU. – As you know, all processes in the organizational system are cyclical, not linear. And if we change something without taking into account the effect of systemic delay, we risk getting an unexpected result at the most inopportune time. And the rollback can be below the mark from which we have begun”.
- Tatiana, it is obvious that not only the labor market is changing, but also the training market. Have you already felt the changes?
- Of course, we also felt that the training market has significantly decreased, especially its corporate training segment. But there is still interest in long educational programs. One of the explanations for the popularity of long training can be such reasoning: “If I am fired, then you can look at this situation as an opportunity to find a more acceptable job or finally “learn”, to learn a new profession, which I have long dreamed of, but there was no reason to change something seriously in life. According to statistics, today in Russia more than 30% of working people would like to learn, to learn a new profession.
I think it’s reasonable – when choosing a training programme today to focus on what will happen after the crisis, to gain new knowledge, skills and experience that will become competitive advantages on the labour market after the crisis.
- And what are companies-employers ready to pay now? What effective programs, from their point of view, are they ready to invest in?
- Today, unfortunately, employee training is not perceived as an investment, on the contrary – as one of the most expensive budget items. So far, there are no clear formulas that allow to calculate the payback of training.
The heads of enterprises will give preference to consulting services, in expectation to get a solution – how to cope with the crisis. Training will be left only for specialists, whose activity is vital for the organization. Certainly, training of employees of sales department will remain, as in the conditions of crisis the competition has considerably increased. To sell became more difficult, therefore much depends on qualification of sellers today. I think that attention will be paid to trainings devoted to economic issues and topics related to financial management, interest to legal aspects in management will remain.
- So now it’s not before trainings devoted to personal, psychological development of the personnel?
- Such trainings have never been ordered by the company before. After all, both the employer and the employee want to get a quick practical result from the training, and if it is a delayed result, as, for example, “personal growth”, then of course, it will not be in demand. Especially today, when both money must be earned and survive. And what should we understand by “personal growth”? Moreover, personal growth of an employee is not always beneficial to the manager. Any manager, first of all, cares about the prosperity of their own business, so the training of staff and, accordingly, investing in it, should be associated with the implementation of organizational goals.
Personal growth is rather the concern of individuals themselves. Here you should not wait for the grace of the company, it is better to take care of your own development. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and undergo the necessary training to increase your market value. Even today, this trend is particularly noticeable. For example, we are now recruiting groups for open training sessions “Time Management” and “Self-presentation or how to sell yourself successfully”. And there are people who expected the company to pay for their training, but because of the difficult financial situation in the company were refused. Despite this, people come to the decision that training will be useful for them, and pay for their own training.
- And what is the situation now with the long-term programs. They have always been paid for by employees themselves, right?
- Yes, in 90 – 95% people paid for their own training. A long-term programme is an opportunity to either upgrade an existing qualification or to acquire a new profession. Especially attractive are programs with state certification. Thus, our programmes “Training of Personnel Managers” and “Training of Business Coaches” are aimed at ensuring that people can invest in themselves, in their future. Companies are not always ready to pay for such expensive training to their employees. The only exception is highly loyal employees who will certainly work on such an investment. As a rule, only large companies with a well-structured motivation system can afford such an investment.
- You just said a very important thing – an investment in yourself. How do you know what kind of training will be a good investment in yourself and bring dividends?
It seems to me that in this period of change many people can benefit from consultations, coaching sessions related to self-determination, when it is important for a person to understand where to go next, in which direction to develop. But the problem is that sometimes it’s hard to admit to yourself that you need help, or people don’t know who could help them figure it out, and money isn’t always ready to pay for that service. If there is no scrupulous analysis – who you are now, what you want in the future and how to achieve it, your own business plan, if you like, analysis of the market situation and your own resources, it is difficult to understand what and how to invest in yourself in order to receive dividends later.
- Tatiana, what was the market like six months ago? What was offered, what was in demand, with what mood did people learn?
- We can say that before the crisis the demand for training was quite high. However, unfortunately, training was not always related to the companies’ strategy. Training programs were formed taking into account fashionable topics or taking into account the funds that were budgeted for personnel services, and by the end of the year they certainly had to be spent. Often these were one-time trainings, the effect of which can be expected to be minimal. Especially when the customer wanted the training to be lively and fun. There was a great demand for trainings for sales departments, leadership training, team training, although most of them were rope training. There was an encouraging trend – there was a growing demand for training not only for line personnel, but also for management. After all, it is very important to teach not only those who sell the product, but also those who manage, who create working conditions under which you can achieve high results.
- Do you think any training is good for you?
- Of course, you can give yourself hope that any training is useful, that it somehow, yes, develops employees. I believe that there should be no training for the sake of training, because we are dealing with a business where the most important criterion of success is the result. The orientation of the result in the organization is its strategic goals.
Fortunately, in my practice, there is cooperation with companies where training is taken seriously as a business task. Training programs are formed under competence models, which in turn are developed in accordance with the functional objectives of the personnel and cover all structural levels of the organization. And, what is very important, these are not separate trainings, they are long-term programs built into the system, with evaluation before and after training.
And another very important point is that if a company teaches its personnel, it must create conditions for the application of the acquired knowledge and skills, otherwise, having trained, people can simply go to another company.
- And what are the trends in today’s training market? What is in demand today?
- Today, the customer is very picky and is more result-oriented than ever. Hence the demand for short-term instrumental training with a focus on practice. Since the situation in many companies is not simple and requires non-standard solutions, moderative forms of work may be of great interest both in terms of resource savings and efficiency.
Moderation is an interactive communication technique that makes group work more focused and structured. Moderation contributes to achieving the goal, finding an important solution with the optimal use of creativity of each team member, without wasting time.
- Tatiana, we talked to you about the quality of the training market, and do you think it will shrink in quantitative terms?
- It is difficult to say, because everything depends on the economic and political situation in the country and the world. There are no reliable studies to give exact figures yet, but I think that at the moment the training market in Russia has shrunk by 50-60 percent. And as long as companies have survival as their top priority, they can hardly count on increased demand. But I am sure that this is a temporary phenomenon. In any case, the market will wake up at a new quality level of both demand and supply. Companies will reconsider their policy in the direction of tying training to the result, strategy and consistency, and among the coaches will remain those who can work under the task.
- What criteria can customers use when choosing a trainer or training company today?
- In general, nothing has changed in this respect, the criteria are the same. The ability of a trainer to offer not what he would like to sell, but the ability to develop and conduct a training program that would work for the result needed by the organization at the moment.
The customer should be alarmed by the “omnipotence” of the coach, who agrees to everything and promises that after the training the sales volume will increase, the team will unite, the staff will work hard for the boss and so on. Qualified coach, consultant will be able to see the real problem behind the symptom and will offer to work with it.