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What Does Yesterday's Interest Rate Decrease Mean for Manufacturers and Online Learning?

August 01 2019 | By Steve Bilow

Does it worry you that the Federal Reserve just cut interest rates for the first time in a decade while unemployment is the lowest in 50 years and inflation is under 2%?

The Conference Board indicates that the two biggest concerns of today’s CEO’s are employee retention and a possible coming recession. The question now is what the Fed’s move means for those executives. There are many possibilities but two seem particularly pertinent.

  1. Lowering interest rates in a strong economy may signal that post-great recession economic growth has peaked. If so, recession fears are vindicated, and the job of business leaders is to continue to maintain sales growth if the economy slumps.
  2. If growth hasn’t peaked, this may help wages of middle-class workers, which have essentially been stagnant, to rise. This will intensify employee turnover issues because it increases their bargaining power. Wage growth, in businesses that already have difficulty finding qualified workers, incentivizes people to select employers who provide the greatest fulfillment. Turnover will only worsen, and your worries are justified more than ever.

The two biggest issues for 21st-Century CEOs are real but there is one sure way of moderating both:

Online Learning.

We know this through nearly 2 decades of success helping manufacturers improve business performance with elearning. In 2018 we sponsored a study in conjunction with electrical, HVAC, plumbing, and industrial product buying groups and trade associations. Among their employees, we found:

  • 58% say that training courses have changed the way they do their job.
  • For 87%, online courses impact products they recommend and for 92% these courses make them more suited to sell those specific products.
  • Crucial to communicating differentiation and being acknowledged experts, 86% say they are better at consulting and providing recommendations after an online course.
  • 71% of salespeople say sales have increased in the past year and 47% of those credit online training for part of that success.
  • About 70% want to learn through online training because it’s self-paced, interactive, and available anywhere.
  • 90% will likely take a 1-5-minute course and there is no way to deliver these micro-learning experiences except online.

It is the responsibility of business leaders to grow revenue regardless of economic fluctuations. Leaders are equally responsible for retaining employees by meeting their financial and personal career development goals. We must consider all scenarios when the Fed cuts interest rates at a time of minimal inflation and the highest employment in half a century.

If you think that online learning is not among the most important initiatives to your business success, it may be time to reconsider your position. Contact us today.