Business schools ought to focus on participant-centered learning

QUESTION: We are an organisation with about 156 employees in 13 countries. We have just recruited new managers. Is it important to train the managers? What kind of aspects are new managers taught in business schools that can help them be good bosses?


Every human resource (HR) professional is under siege in boardrooms because they have been forced to defend their budgets.

In a period of cost-cutting, HR budgets are the first culprits for cost reduction. In a tight economy, how do you as HR professional justify spending on the training of managers? Which areas of competence should you prioritise as work and workplaces change?

According to Training Magazine’s 2021, the average company in the US spent Sh127,000 ($1,071) per employee this year on training costs, that is, Sh4,736 ($40) less per person compared to 2020. Overall, even while spending less per learner this year, companies provided more hours of training than last year (55.4 hours in 2020; 63.9 in 2021).

Large companies saw a decrease in overall training hours, going from 102.6 in 2020 to 78.1 in 2021. Mid-size businesses increased from 34.7 hours of training in 2020 to 53.1 in 2021 and small businesses jumped from 41.7 hours to 66.8.

Even if training budgets are being chopped, there is an increase in the number of managers going back to business schools. Business schools are also increasing.

The new managers hired needs upskilling. Surprisingly, skills employees are most interested in learning in the new jobs is mostly asserting communication whose demand has grown by 250 percent and a 129 percent increase in interest around team building as a skill.

Soft skills, while once seen as a “nice to have” talent, have become the new must-have for employees looking to level up and make the most of their investment in personal training and development. The opposite is the priority of employers.

According to The PwC Report, “Seventy-nine percent of CEOs worldwide are concerned that a lack of essential skills (technical skills) in their workforce is threatening the future growth of their organisation.”

The next-generation business schools like Strathmore Business School ought to focus on participant-centered learning. This starts with a training needs assessment to develop customised programmes where knowing the skills gaps is the focus.

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