Companies that invested more in employee training before the pandemic were less likely to lay off their employees and reduce their workforces when pandemic-related financial pressures hit, according to a recent study from Cornell University.

The researcher, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, suggested a cause and effect between employee’ training and their overall value to an organization. Companies view their employees as “disposable resources” after investing in their advancement, the investigators said.

“Importantly, these findings provide evidence that the same investments that firms make to support the development of employees’ human capital in normal times also offer a buffer to employees’ job security in the face of financial precarity,” Rebecca Kehoe, Ph.D, Scott Bentley and Hyesook Chung, Ph.D., wrote.

They hypothesized that investments in employee training yield stronger job protection when paired with an organization’s simultaneous investments in other resources, such as technology.

In a study of 1,364 banking companies with more than 100 employees, the researchers’ findings supported their prediction: Banks that invested in training in the two years before the pandemic would see fewer layoffs and workforce reductions in the wake of pandemic-induced financial pressures.

“Such firms, it appears, are investing in employees ‘for keeps,’ ” they wrote.