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Best Training Practices
Will Kenny
3927 York Ave N
Robbinsdale, MN 55422

Are You Setting Up Next Year's Exodus?

why you should be thinking about training and retention right now!

(reprinted from The Training Tipsheet)

Employee training performs many functions of value to the organization, and one that comes up repeatedly is retention. There's a good deal of evidence that employees who have access to training, who get help from their companies in performing their work well, are more likely to stay around.

Now, is this the time to be talking about retention in your organization? Should you be highlighting this benefit of your training programs in discussions with other units, and with company leadership?

Definitely! Ignoring retention during these trying times will be a common mistake in the business world, I am sure. If you can avoid making that same mistake, you'll be building a competitive advantage that will kick in when economic conditions improve.

This may take a little courage! Bringing up retention right now, among all the other issues your company faces, may get you some confused, if not hostile, looks. After all, someone is likely to say, retention isn't much of a challenge in today's economy.

But the best-run companies do not forget to look beyond the current economy. No matter how much effort and attention, not to mention resources, they may have to put into getting through the recession, future market leaders are sowing the seeds of their success today. They are not letting themselves get so focused on mere survival that they will find themselves at a disadvantage when times get better.

Few things breed greater employee resentment against an employer than the feeling that one has to work for them because there is no other choice. The employee who feels that the company can afford to take him or her for granted, that they don't have to invest any real effort into helping their employees, will be champing at the bit to make the jump when the job market opens up a little bit.

But aren't the employees you have now precisely the ones that can help you win in the marketplace later? After all, they are learning about controlling costs, working efficiently, focusing on the fundamentals, all of which make them particularly useful to you. Staff who have been through hard times, and have seen the company survive and grow stronger, are hard to find. (If a few more companies had kept people like that from past downturns, they might have done better in this one.)

Those staff are going to be just as valuable to your competitors, and if you don't invest in their retention now, you are going to see your best people flying out the doors a year or two down the road, once things heat up again.

If training is one of the key determinants of retention, as a lot of evidence suggests, then you owe it to your company to keep that benefit of the training function visible. Sure resources are tight, but there are many ways to invest in low-cost, frequent-touch communication with your employees that help them do their jobs better (you can find several articles and tools related to the value and efficiency of frequent contact on my web site at www.besttrainingpractices.com ). That enhances results for the company at the same time it helps convince your staff they are working for a good employer.

Retention for right now is easy, the economy is doing it for you. Retention for the future takes some courage and commitment, and training has a valuable role to play.

If you lead the training function in your company, keep the training and retention discussion alive. Otherwise, these hard times will do your employee education for you -- teaching them how to be more valuable to their next employer, one they will help beat you at your own game.

© 2009 Best Training Practices -- Will Kenny

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