Business Solutions
Why Are Businesses Afraid to Spend on Learning & Development: What Are They Missing?

Why Are Businesses Afraid to Spend on Learning & Development: What Are They Missing?

Learning and Development does not seem to be a priority anymore in South Africa – at least not with a large number of businesses in the country! Big, medium and small businesses are in survival mode! The economy is in crisis! Year-end final spends are no longer a driver! Cash flows are at a low! Cost need to be cut!

This is what I have been personally told by the various businesspeople, sales and business development managers training and HR managers I have spoken to in the last few months. So I thought I would put a little poll out there and see which of these problems is the most overwhelming factor in the minds of businesspeople within my LinkedIn network.

The results of the post came out just the other day and you can see them here: Poll results. These provide a really good idea of what people think are the challenges but are just the starting point to determine where their challenges lie. Granted, a poll is pretty limiting but surprisingly there was not an even spread across all 4 or a clear winner either. There was a clear loser – financial year end does not seem to be as major a factor in the L&D decision-making process as one would think. What was equally interesting was not just the voting results but which companies responded and what their reasons are.

A poll for me is just as much about what is not being said and who is not saying anything as who responded and what they replied. That being said, this post was displayed on over 2800 screens but only 40 people saw fit to vote and only a couple made comments. You can call that what you want but in political circles we would talking about apathy or fear. Are people too scared or don’t they care enough to realise that learning, adapting and evolving into new ways of doing things is the only way to really turn this economy around and change the direction of your cash flow? If you do these things then cost-cutting just might not be as much of an imperative as you might think now. Alex Khurgin, the Director of Learning Innovation at Grovo, says that “the best time to train is when employees are already motivated to learn. That happens when employees have an acute need, prepare for a new challenge, or undergo a big change.”

Well the need for learning is greater than ever with greater number of unemployed people than ever before; more and more retrenchments taking place; the job market being flooded with people who have have been part of the Great Resignation; and more people than ever having to overcome global changes of epic proportions with remote work, industry 4.0 and belief system shifts rocking the conventional way of doing business. It is no wonder that businesses are scared because they may just be paying for someone to be trained who may resign the very next day.

The reason I say that apathy has also become rife is because in the conversations I have had over the last few months, businesses just do not care to try much new. Training is taking place but of late this just appears to be the same programmes as in previous years, sometimes on a smaller scale. Maybe apathy is not the right word to describe this phenomenon. So many other terms come to mind. We already used fear but complacency, lack of inspiration or innovation and a victim mentality. I think we do care as businesses and people, but where it showed before, it is being overwhelmed by all the negative emotions that the past 2 1/2 years has instilled in us. The world has become a very different place: economically, socially, technologically and politically.

So what can we do to change that? The hardest thing there is to do – change our mindsets! The most successful businesses, some of whom flourished during the months of Covid-19 fears, changed their ways of thinking and “pivotted”. They understood how to overcome their BFUPs (Big Fat Urgent Problems). Why? Because they understood what the root challenges were and addressed those.

Shad Tidler talks about the 5 most common objections that salespeople encounter from prospective clients, which businesses seem to be selling themselves on now:


If you think about it, each of these objections has been amped up a thousand fold and businesses are feeding this mentality to themselves, stifling innovation, preventing growth and curtailing abundance.

What are the solutions? How do businesses overcome these challenges? Over the next few months I will be sharing insights and solutions on the Qhuconsult website and Qhuconsult LinkedIn page.

Jared Shippel is the founder and CEO of Qhuconsult

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