6 min read

Employee Retention Strategies that Leverage Training

By Kathy Irish on Feb 11, 2021 2:00:00 PM

Topics: Human Resources
Employee Retention Strategies that Leverage Training - ej4 Blog

At any company, people will come and go. It’s a fact of life that people retire and move. Some people are passively recruited by another company, or they just decide to take their career in a new direction. You can expect a certain level of natural attrition but there are some simple employee retention strategies to counteract the preventable reasons people leave. That starts with training.


Why Do People Leave and How Can Training Help Your Employee Retention Strategies?


Lack of Engagement

Employee engagement is defined as the emotional commitment the employee has to the company and its goals. An engaged employee actually cares about their work and will make a discretionary effort: stay late to finish a report; volunteer for a special project; pitch new ideas for a process improvement. Employee training can play a key role in supporting employee engagement and ultimately, employee retention.

How engaged are your employees with their training? If you have an LMS, chances are you can track these metrics within your system. Hopefully you receive very high engagement from your required training topics like safety, anti-harassment, etc.

What about personal development topics? Do you offer this kind of training? Do you allow for employees to engage on their own in a self-directed fashion? Fostering engagement plays a critical role in your employee retention strategy, and offering personal development topics that your employees have interest in can create much more learning engagement than you realize.

People don’t like to admit when they aren’t good at something, and it can be difficult to ask for help. An eLearning library with a wide range of skills training topics can be the perfect resource for people in this situation. You may have a young sales rep who doesn’t feel very comfortable leaving voicemails, but doesn’t want to ask for pointers from a colleague. By opening up your training library, this employee can easily and privately find a course on “How to Leave Voicemails that Get Returned” in their own time.


Bad Boss

Unfortunately, most employees will experience a bad boss or toxic work environment at some point in their career. Bad managers might be verbally abusive, micromanage their teams, lack empathy, or take credit for the team’s work. They use fear and intimidation on a daily basis. Unless employees feel comfortable going to HR, many companies have no idea until people start leaving the company. Who wants to be the person who made a formal complaint about their boss?

Another strategy to improve employee retention is better training for your supervisors and managers. Here are a few course ideas from ej4’s business skills library that would help a bad boss become a better boss:

  • Emotional Intelligence: Developing Empathy
  • Are You a Micromanager?
  • Healthy Communication: How Not to Communicate
  • Respect: How to be Respected
  • Putdown Offenders

Today’s managers are leading diverse teams and can benefit from training that addresses that diversity. They will be a better boss when they have a better understanding of the individuals on their team. A few of the training courses ej4 offers include:

  • Managing Different Generations
  • Integrating Millennials
  • Generation Z: Who Are They?
  • Managing Introverts and Extroverts
  • Unconscious Bias
  • Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation
  • DiSC Personality Types


Lack of Career Path

Your employees may think that the only way they can grow their career is to leave the company and find a new job elsewhere. Providing employees with training that shows them a clear growth plan in your company can help eliminate that mindset and can help you retain your top talent.

Create curriculums that will develop skills needed for a promotion and be sure to communicate that this path exists. This can help identify your HiPos (the ones who dive head-first into this kind of training!) and give you an in-house pool of talent to promote when you need to fill more senior roles.

The retail industry is known for high turnover rates and a lack of learning and development is one of the main causes. You hire an hourly worker as a sales associate. After their onboarding training when the employee is settled in and excelling in their current role, they may start to show signs of being a HiPo. If that’s the case, it may be beneficial to slowly introduce tasks into their routine that a higher-level employee might undertake, like some supervisory or managerial duties. This can make them a valuable asset and even set them up for promotion further down the line. It also shows them that you’re invested in their growth.

Additionally, show them how they can access further self-directed learning that helps them understand the role of supervisor. If they know where they are headed, they will be more motivated to work towards that new goal and stay with the company. (Check out a few of ej4’s retail training videos.)


Lack of Training Opportunities

A study attributed to IBM found that employees who do not feel like they are developing in a company are 12 times more likely to leave it. That’s a large chunk of employees that could have been retained simply by offering them some training to develop their skills. And when you think about the costs of onboarding employees, the costs of losing that employee may in many cases outweigh the costs to provide training in the first place.

A lack of training leads to frustrated, unhappy, and stressed workers. Employees waste time taking longer to complete tasks and productivity drops. There are many costs of not training employees that go beyond employee retention:

  • Studies cited by workplacementalhealth.org put the price of workplace bullying at approximately $14,000 per employee in lost job performance. Workplace bullying could lead to higher employee turnover.
  • OSHA estimates that US employers pay out as much as $1 billion per week for direct workers compensation. Workers may leave a job where they feel the working conditions are unsafe.
  • 57% of sales people are expected to miss their quotas each year. The win rate can be improved with effective training.

Note: You can read more about all of these and see our sources in our eBook “The Costs of Not Training Employees.”


Bad Onboarding Training

A poor or nonexistent onboarding program can be kryptonite for your employee retention strategy. In fact, it can cause one third of new hires to leave their job within the first six months. The numbers speak for themselves. Employees are 58% more likely to be with a company after 3 years when given a structured onboarding program.

If you’re looking to develop a strong employee retention strategy, then onboarding is the perfect foundation to start with. Not only will good onboarding training help your new employee understand their role and the company culture, but it will set the tone for their future with you.

A robust onboarding program shows your employee how dedicated you are to their success in your company, gives them resources to succeed, and hopefully offers them further development opportunities to grow in their role (or even aim higher for a promotion one day!). Show them a tangible career plan from day one, and you may just have earned yourself a dedicated employee for years to come.

This may not be an exhaustive list of the reasons why people might leave your company, but it’s a good place to start when identifying places where training can really make a difference in your employee retention strategies. 

When you work with a company like ej4 and have access to full libraries of off-the-shelf training videos, you proactively manage your employee retention, as well as, any other needs that arise. I encourage you to sign up for a 15-day free trial of our Thinkzoom LMS to explore training videos your employees can get excited about.

Additional Resources:


Kathy Irish

Written by Kathy Irish

Kathy joined ej4 in 2007 as our first Instructional Designer. She has over 15 years’ experience in Human Resource Management, Training and Organizational Development. In addition to managing and planning ej4’s yearly new content development, Kathy also oversees all the production on updates (both legal and style-wise) to current off-the-shelf content.

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