Skill Training: A Panacea To Economic Recession – Joshua Otalu

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Recession is a time to train and not a time to lay-off staff – Joshua Oche Otalu.

Based on the current economic situation in the country, a lot of companies have laid off a good number of their staff and are threatening to lay off more if things don’t improve soon enough…

Retrenching or laying off staff seems to be the logical thing to do if companies can’t keep up with the required cost of maintaining them. But our guest on the blog today, a man I respect so much thinks otherwise. His name? Joshua Oche Otalu, an experienced and Sought After HR Manager, an Associate member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), is a professional association for human resource management professionals) and CIPM (Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria).

Mr. Joshua recently did a research on the above topic and decided to share a few excerpts from his papers with us.

Please seat back, read, learn and share your opinions in the comment box.

Skill Training: A Panacea To Economic Recession – Joshua Oche Otalu

Pastor Otalu.PNG
Joshua Oche Otalu

Economic recession is a period of low demands for goods, services, and employees, because of change in the economy. Economic recession usually comes with the implications of rising unemployment, high rate of company’s insolvencies, general shrink in budget, fall in earnings including trade union crisis.

But, every challenge has a solution. Exploring strategic skill acquisition, relevant training and development could be a sustainable panacea to any economic recession.

Smith (2008) opines that for businesses to recover from economic recessions or stay competitive during downturns, its managers’ training could be aligned with business strategy. Additionally, skills gained should be utilised at all levels of business units, designs and key operational processes.

According to, Muzaffar & Malik (2012) and Batool & Bariha (2012), the core objective challenge of an organisation or a nation could be addressed through appropriate training opportunities and learning experiences. Also, the CIPD (2014) recognises learning and development intervention as a means of addressing operational realities and constraints, when such learning and development are aligned with business strategy and organisational culture. Similarly, Harrison (1996) argues that in turbulent business environment, organisations could change through learning.

What are the benefits of relevant skill training you may ask?

Training helps organisations with skills to improve in productivity, customer service, retention and growth as well as ability to gain or maintain market-share.

Noe (2010) demonstrates that training helped United State Airways, Seattle City Light, Boston Pizza and Starbucks to be revitalised in times of economic downturns. Furthermore, Stewart and Brown (2011) shows that, when faced with the challenges of customer satisfaction or economic recession, skill training is required to keep the business competitive. CIPD (2014) also recognises the importance of effective learning and training programmes in supporting business strategy and in ensuring the effectiveness of an organisation.

Consequently, times of recession are times to invest on the relevant and required skill, competence and capability needed to revitalise the situation or downturn. It is an established saying by Sam Adeyemi that “Ideas rule the world”, accordingly the ideas needed to change the situation are embedded in employees.

During this temporary period of economic recession, don’t just sack employees for the reason of recession – they are your source of competitive advantage; instead train them strategically. Recession is a time to train and not necessarily a time to lay-off staff.

Also, the unemployed at this time of job search should look for opportunities where it can be demonstrated to the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) that they have the skill required to change their business; while the CEOs are encouraged to embark on aggressive skill search to improve both the employees and the business.

Thank you so much Sir for sharing this enlightening piece with us!

This is just a minute subset of the entire paper, you can contact our guest via if you are interested in the full research paper.

Joshua Oche Otalu holds a Masters Degree in International Human Resource Management from England. He has strong generalist HR experience, especially in:

  • Supporting managers and staff in planning and implementing change.
  • Employee relations, well-being and work life balance
  • People search, selection and retention
  • Compensation design, implementation, and management
  • Equal opportunities and employment policies
  • Management of HR information systems and processes
  • Performance management and assessment
  • People planning, career planning, and succession management.

And as mentioned in the intro, he is an Associate member of the CIPD in UK and CIPM in Nigeria.

You can contact him for any HR related service or advice via

PS: Asides from Skill Training, what else do you think is a panacea to the economic recession we are experiencing? You know we can’t leave it for the president and his cabinet to figure it all out… Please share your thoughts in the comments box.

Do have a productive Tuesday.



2 Replies to “Skill Training: A Panacea To Economic Recession – Joshua Otalu”

  1. In other words enterprises should engage in continuous improvement of its workforce to ensure the attraction and retention of right mix of human capital. Any divercification that negate human capital development is an exercise in futility. The real diversification is in the training and development of the human capital not the “mineral capital”

    Liked by 1 person

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