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Training to Retain – Is it Worth it?

by fatweb

Debra_BuckleyDebra Buckley

CEO of the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership.
One of the hot topics amongst employers today is employee retention: the dual challenges of finding good employees – and keeping them.
I agree it is a challenge for some sectors and yet, more money and more training isn’t the ‘white-knight’ answer for every situation.
Ongoing training is a brilliant solution when retention matters most. Here are three really good reasons to invest in a development or training programme. Ask yourself:
Can we increase productivity through training?
Can we increase performance in our leaders by developing their capability?
Have our peoples’ technical functions moved on and do we need to up-skill them?
Conversely, when training is simply perceived as a reward (and therefore a seemingly nice thing to offer someone who has threatened to leave or might be considering it), it rarely ‘hits the mark’ as a retention measure and can even have undesired consequences.
Whenever I am asked to support an organisation with a retention programme, I recommend training as part of a development plan for an individual, not as a reward or an inducement to remain.
In these situations, I have noticed that for every leader who sees training as ‘time and money spent’, there is another who sees training as investing in their future.
Well-planned training is priceless to an organisation and individual. Providing professional development is most impactful when it goes hand-in-hand with a purpose.
If the purpose is to bribe an employee to stay with the organisation, then the rewards will be short lived. Resources can also be wasted through over training individuals, as you often need to spend money, invest time, and employees may lose interest in the education opportunity.
As someone who sees the benefit of targeted capability building, I am 100 percent behind the value of training, capability development and education. I am not however a fan of it being used as a retention tool, as it just won’t work without a purpose.
Developing a member of your team as part of a succession plan works – if you are looking for ways to keep your key people, challenge them. Develop their capability so they can lead a team or a project, can step into a leadership role or increase their responsibility. Do this and you will be rewarded, the organisation will benefit and the employee will grow.
If you are looking to retain key staff, look inside your organisation and ask yourself, where does that person fit as our business grows and how can we ensure parallel growth of the individual to meet the future needs identified?

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