If you think training is just about skill acquisition, think again — team members can leave the organization, and tech skills aren’t “set it and forget it;” they have to be continually refreshed, used and renewed to stay active and relevant.
As a learner or a team manager, you have to build new skills as well as nurture and maintain the ones you have through strategies that improve knowledge retention and increase employee retention by providing avenues for professional development.
The Turnover Problem
If your employees aren’t staying, pouring resources into training is like trying to fill a sieve.
As a manager, you need to be sure that your bases are covered. Whatever technologies are currently or soon-to-be in use for your organization, someone on your team needs to know them. And just because you allocated the time and resources to send one employee to a bootcamp doesn’t mean you can tick that box permanently. Once an employee is trained, to keep their knowledge within the organization, you have to make a concerted effort to retain them.
Millennials Want More
The average tenure for a tech employee is three years, shorter than any other industry. A 2015 study by the Education Advisory Board suggests that millennials will change jobs up to 20 times in their working life. Millennials, in general, have an even more brief average of two years before they hop to another job, so your youngest employees — in addition to having the least experience — may not even stick around for much longer than it takes to learn your systems. Fortunately, there’s a solution to both of these problems.
Employees who are offered training and development opportunities like training subscriptions, along with a path to promotion are much more likely to stay with an organization than those with no clear way to excel in their careers. Forward thinking companies like Zappos offer their employees training and mentorship that affords them the opportunity to become a senior leader within 5-7 years. So not only is making training available a priority, it’s even more effective as a retention tool when accompanied by planning and support, like what’s provided by our accountability coaches, or mentorship, like our learner community mentoring program.
Engagement is Key
It’s not just millennials who are compelled to stick around by training and development opportunities. More companies are paying attention to whether their employees of all ages are “engaged” in professional development, and for good reason. A recent Gallup study found that businesses with “highly engaged” teams — those who invested in development and skill growth — increased profitability by 21 percent and output quality by 40 percent. They also reduced absenteeism by 41 percent.
Training gives employees the opportunity to grow professionally, and that’s a significant advantage for employers fighting to keep skilled team members. A study by Cornerstone, a recruiting firm, indicates that 70 percent of employees said that their business doesn’t guide professional growth within their organization, and 89 percent of study respondents said they would consider making a lateral career move with no financial incentive — mainly in order to find personal satisfaction or take up a new professional challenge. Both of these needs are met by training and promoting development within your organization.
Training as a Perk
If you’re in tech, you may think fancy snack displays and the latest office gadgets are the way to attract talented employees. While those perks are great, the best and brightest are often more attracted to substantive investments in the culture of your workplace. They are looking for the chance to grow professionally and work on new and exciting technologies. Tech employees, in particular, are more worried than ever about becoming obsolete. If your training program can offer them the opportunity to stay sharp, it’s a considerable benefit.
Skills Retention is Knowledge Retention
Beyond turnover, another vehicle for knowledge loss is poor skill retention. Have you ever heard of the Forgetting Curve? The science of memory tells us that most people forget 90 percent of what they’ve learned within the first month. The best way to stop that knowledge hemorrhage is with immediate, relevant application — like the kind of practice you get through our in-course quizzes or virtual labs.
Are You Keeping Your Training Investment?
If you’re not investing in training, you risk driving away your most talented and motivated employees. And even if you are making an investment in training, without the right kind of reinforcing structure, those training dollars may be going to waste. The most effective training managers safeguard their investment in skill development by fully supporting their employees in their professional development goals. For more strategies that you can use to support your team’s professional development, check out this post on creating a culture and infrastructure for training.
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