Corporate Learning Focuses on Effectiveness & Efficiency Amid Job Losses

These days, hardly a week goes by without hearing about another company cutting jobs. The chart below shows just how pervasive the job losses have been just since September 15th 2008. It puts the transformation of human resources & learning into perspective:


I showed this chart to several colleagues who are Chief Learning Officers for professional service and financial service firms to gauge the impact on their functions in light of the current economic situation. We discussed how the learning function will evolve in the months ahead:

Three areas surfaced as keys to grappling with the current economic situation:

  1. Targeting the top three initiatives HRD leaders can accomplish in 2009 assuming fewer human resources and corporate learning staff and budget decreases of up to 40%. This translates into having a razor sharp focus on a critical few initiatives that will deliver the highest impact to senior executives. Some include: more emphasis on creating “formal” on the job experiences to nurture informal learning, having an enterprise wide coaching and mentoring strategy in place to supplement whatever formal learning can be offered and preparing managers to “have difficult conversations with employees”.
  2. Providing a range of “real time” online performance support tools to managers. Previously these tools have been created for jobs in such functions as customer call and operations. But now that formal learning may be reduced, more managers and newly appointed leaders will be looking for performance support tools as a way to assist in creating on-the-job improvements.
  3. Examining how to leverage current content vendors to provide greater pre and post learning experiences—in other words exploring how to deepen some vendor relationships to provide learning interventions rather than just creating access to online content.

How are you adjusting your learning department to the new realities of driving greater effectiveness and efficiency into the learning function? Share your thoughts with me.

[tags]Chief Learning Officer, Performance Support Tools, Pre and Post Learning[/tags]

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About Jeanne Meister

Jeanne C. Meister is a best selling author of three books, internationally recognized consultant and keynote speaker. Jeanne is Partner of Future Workplace, a consulting firm dedicated to assisting organizations in re-thinking, re-imagining and re-inventing the workplace. Jeanne was recently voted by her peers as one of the 20 top influential training professionals in the United States. Jeanne’s name is synonymous with the establishment and institutionalization of global corporate universities. Jeanne is the author of three books, Corporate Quality Universities and Corporate Universities. Jeanne’s latest book is, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Collins, 2010) is in its 10th printing.No information is provided by the author.


  1. I have also been talking with a number of senior L&D people recently. One activity that we have all found useful is creating a simple dashboard of planned L&D activity and plotting this in terms of impact to the business and return on investment. This really helps the L&D function on wha the business really needs and getting the most value for every dollar spent on developing people.

    The tool doesn’t have to be an on line one – just a simple piece of paper works too…


  2. Along with “a razor sharp focus on a critical few initiatives” is a need for evidence that these initiatives, whether classroom, coaching, or on-the-job, are truly helping the organization achieve its strategic priorities. Executives must be convinced that their resources are being used effectively. They can’t afford to waste time, money, and effort in this economy.

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