The expanding investments in people and the retracting investments in people precede the economic business cycle of boom or bust. In other words, when companies begin to re-invest in people, productivity increases, creativity soars, new products appear and new customers are engaged. When companies pull back on people investments, sales start to sag, productivity declines, product introductions slow to a trickle and soon the business falters. The faltering of business is usually obfuscated initially by the drive for efficiency and financial engineering of the books but the employees reflect the dropping corporate barometric pressure. Rumors fly, people begin to hang out at the water cooler to commiserate and speculate about what is going on. High value employees flee to other companies or industries and employee morale and corporate profits tumble.
People in IT are clearly motivated by access to training and skill development programs. Recently, I was talking to a CEO of a small VC funded software start-up. He was seeking additional funding to keep the company. A top priority for this veteran of several successful start-ups was getting funding that would allow him to increase spending for training and staff development. His observation from his deep experience in successful product and business creation was that software developers would give it their all tirelessly for months or years if they felt that they were learning, growing and developing on the job. Training dollars and employee development was an integral ingredient in success. This point of view is strongly backed up by Neuroscience research which reveals that learning is extremely rewarding to the brain. Learning provides a dopamine buzz — a neuro chemical reward that is highly motivating. The highly respected Gallup survey on Employee Engagement dedicates two of the 12 questions to this issue of learning and growth. They are: Q6 — is there someone at work who encourages my development?; and Q12 — this last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
The Gallup survey is only 12 questions but it is highly correlated with employee engagement and corporate performance. I find it to be significant that Gallop devotes two questions to the issue of learning and personal growth. Presumably, we are all seeking the expanding business cycle — we seek the energy, the thrill and the profitability that comes with expanding business cycles. So, if employee learning, training and development are so critical to expansion, why would anyone cut these programs? What drives the retraction and pull back on investment in people?
The upcoming Cutter IT Journal, with Guest Editor Lynne Ellyn, is seeking insight on the leadership issues of people investment, business expansion, business retraction and where businesses are headed in 2013 and beyond.
We invite articles addressing the following questions and other topics related to the theme:
* Where is IT investment in people trending?
* Are training budgets expanding? And if so, what type is training is being performed?
* Are new leadership programs being initiated?
* Are leaders encouraged to seek coaches or mentors?
* How might an insurgence of employee training affect the economy in the near future?
* What strategies will motivate employees to perform their best?
* How can companies integrate training into their business culture to insulate it from an economic downturn?
* What development programs have succeeded and which ones have failed?
* What advice can be given to CIOs on how to introduce successful, long term training programs?
SEND US YOUR ARTICLE IDEA by 14 March 2013
Please respond to Lynne Ellyn, lellyn[at]cutter[dot]com, with a copy to itjournal[at]cutter[dot]com, no later than 14 March 2013 and include an extended abstract and a short article outline showing major discussion points.
Accepted articles are due by 12 April 2013.