4 Truths about Employee Training and Retention

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In a recent article for Training Magazine, Joe Lipham, training account manager at Signature Worldwide, wrote about an exit interview he gave an employee he’d thought would be a perfect fit, but who put in her notice just two weeks after she started.

While she loved the team and the company’s mission, she said she’d decided to leave because nobody had taken the time to train her. She hated the feeling that she wasn’t contributing, but she didn’t know where to start, or who could help.

We’ve written before about the potential of strong training and development programs to become the competitive differentiator in the war for talent, but Lipham’s story struck a chord here at QC. We know that retaining talent (especially millennial talent) is more difficult than ever. We also know that the cost of replacing an employee is equal to six to nine months of that employee’s salary, according to SHRM research.

Employers should be looking for every advantage available to keep employees engaged and productive for the long term. So what’s holding them back from implementing powerful training programs to develop and hone their top talent?

If your organization’s leadership is on the fence about the critical role talent development plays in employee engagement, here are four arguments to help inspire them.

1. Employees Stay where They Feel Valued and Challenged

Many companies hesitate to invest in training because they fear that they’ll spend their time and money on employees only to see them put in their notice anyway. But research has shown time and again that training can actually improve retention rates. Today’s employees want more than punching a clock and collecting a paycheck. They need to feel valued within the organization, and they need to feel challenged to grow. As work-life balance becomes more and more precarious, it’s critical that employees find personal fulfillment in their jobs. And one of the best ways to help them feel valued, challenged, and fulfilled—and therefore more likely to commit for the long haul—is to invest in their growth.

2. Equipping Employees with the Skills They Need to Advance Their Careers Is Always a Good Move

While there will always be better opportunities and higher paychecks out there, employees who see their current company as their career and not just a job will be more likely to stick around, giving their work their all. By offering robust training and development opportunities, a company can show their employees that they are invested in their careers and their growth, and that they value each team member as someone with the potential to contribute in new and exciting ways for a long time to come.

3. Investing in Your Employee’s Skill Set Increases Their Value to Your Organization

Like the woman in Lipham’s story, the bottom line is that if employees don’t have the skills they need, or if they don’t know the rules of the game, they are unable to contribute fully to the company. That’s a drain on both the employees’ morale and the organization’s resources, so it’s in both parties’ best interests to be sure employees have the know-how they need to succeed.

4. Training Programs Are Becoming a Recruitment Tool

When tight margins prevent dazzling salaries and benefits (and even when they don’t), talent development programs can be powerful recruitment tools. Like we’ve said, today’s workforce is looking for careers that check more boxes than just the paycheck, and a clear indication that a company is willing and able to invest in employees’ ongoing development will be an important differentiator for the most desirable candidates.

No matter how you cut it, organizations have to invest in their people. Making employees feel valued and challenged may feel like just a warm, fuzzy ideal, but it’s a critical move to acquire quality employees—and save significant costs by holding onto them for the long term.