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Improving Employee Retention Though Training

There is an old proverb that states …” Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” While there is much debate as to the author of this proverb there is no denying (to me anyway) the point, which at the core is that training is a good thing that can lead to a lifetime of fulfillment for the student. Ancient proclamations aside I do not think there would be much argument as to why it is advantageous to a learner to be properly trained, but what are the benefits for the employer?

Typically, the objective of training is to teach a person a new skill, provide new or updated information or remind them of what they should already know. Therefore, one of the obvious benefits to the employer is that post training, your employee can do their job better, more efficiently, in a shorter period of time…etc. Now those are all good things, are critical to organisational success and thus clearly important, but another benefit of employee training for the employer is one that gets often overlooked, and that is employee retention.

Recent studies indicate that an employee who does not receive what they feel is proper training is up to 3 times more likely to leave an organisation vs those that considered the training at the workplace above average or excellent. Further to that point many experts agree that organisations who offer a coaching or mentoring program for employees can realise up to a 20% increase in employee retention, compared to organisations where no such program exists. The costs to an employer to replace employees that leave can have a significant impact on the bottom line as some organisations estimate an expenditure equivalent to the employee’s salary, if not more. Costs aside, many organisations experience significant “Skill Gaps” when employees leave, especially those that have 5 plus years’ experience. This happens when employees with unique skills and/or abilities leave before passing on their knowledge to a peer, and thus make replacing their role that much more difficult. Understanding that, I think it safe to say the argument to invest in an employee’s development is sound.

As a final thought consider the following…A published report which was completed in the Spring of 2015 and looked at the average employee age in the American and Canadian workforce concluded that by the year 2020, 46% of the workforce will be made up of millennials, or persons born after 1975. Now add to that the fact that in a recent survey of this age group of people currently in the workforce, 65% said personal development was the most influential factor in their current job. Now considering personal development was selected ahead of other common influencers such as salary, benefits, work – life balance etc. I would suggest it might be time to grab our fishing poles.

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