Train your staff, retain your staff

Andrew Badham 2018-06-04 14:50:38

There’s a subtle fear that pervades most employers. The fear that, if they upskill their staff, those staff members will leave shortly thereafter, and that investment will be lost. There is a certain logic to that idea. If your staff are more valuable, they are more employable, and if they’re more employable, surely they would immediately job hunt for higher salaries? Well, no. The simple reason why is that people don’t solely make their employment decisions based on salary. People make decisions based largely on how they feel about companies and employers, and apparently, how much people feel they are being invested in is a big driver.

There’s a scenario we have pinned up on our wall in which a CFO says to the CEO, “What if we invest in our employees and they leave?” To which the CEO replies, “What if we don’t and they stay?” We often find our students taking photos of the quote, presumably to send to their bosses. It’s clearly a sentiment people love, and of course they love it, after all, it’s they who are being invested in. But the investment is not so one-sided. According to LinkedIn research, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if they felt they were being invested in. So, if you train your staff, not only will they be more valuable to your company, they will be more likely to stick around and make a return on that investment.

Conversely,’s research showed that employees who were not receiving training were twice as likely to leave within three years of employment. So, it turns out that saving money by not training staff is the management equivalent of hiding your money under the mattress; you’ll save a little now but you’re getting no return on that money and you might lose it anyway.

So, is there really a return on investment for training your staff? If you count employee retention, then these studies certainly show that, and there are other returns. Training will improve their ability to perform at work, provided the intervention was appropriate to their needs and well presented. Training will also ensure they stay relevant; the job market is changing rapidly and employees’ skills need to match the changes. Lastly, employees with relevant skills and qualifications help employers sell their time for more money. After all, they are selling a more valuable product.

So don’t let the fear of your employees leaving stop you from what is essentially a wise business investment.

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