Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Is the new blood coming through?

I was talking to someone at CiB this morning about a training course I'm planning to run next month and then again in January. To be honest, the bookings are slow and if they don't pick up we may combine the two days into one in the New Year.

I've worked with several training providers over the past two years and all are saying the same: bookings are down and some events simply aren't running.

What struck me most is that CiB had to postpone its Communications Foundation course in September - a very good offering aimed at those new to the industry. The implication was that there simply wasn't a lot of new blood coming through this year.

For me, that's a real worry. If IC is to climb the business agenda, organisations need to maintain their talent pipeline. Of course that can be tough in an economic downturn, but it hardly helps businesses prepare for the upturn if they're neither recruiting new talent nor developing those at junior levels. I know what my experience was in my early career when my employer was not prepared to invest in me: I walked to an organisation that was (Nationwide!).
Frankly, organisations who are just battening down the hatches now and cutting back on the 'nice to haves' (Yuk!!) of development and communication can probably kiss their top comms talent goodbye as soon as business conditions start to improve.

While my mantra on employee communication at the moment is to concentrate on doing a few things well, organisations should not lose focus on developing their own people - not least their communicators.

In this case, my next course isn't too relevent as it's about going freelance, but there's a lot of good training, at more reasonable cost than ever, to be had out there. It's massively short-term thinking for organisations to slash development budgets. Surely this is the time for training providers and employers to come together to define and deliver 'product' that meets the needs of both sides?

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