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A Closer Look At How Employee Development Impacts Retention

A Closer Look At How Employee Development Impacts Retention

According to a workforce trend report, employee retention has become the top priority for operations and HR in 2023. One of the most effective strategies to achieve this is investing in employee development programs. These programs not only enhance employees’ skills and knowledge but also foster a sense of loyalty and commitment to the organization.

Sixty-one percent of HR professionals state that lack of development and career advancement is the second most common reason for employee turnover, behind inadequate compensation. Twenty-one percent of HR professionals report lack of development as the number one factor influencing retention. 

The Importance Of Career Development For Employees

Employee development programs are attractive to employees because they provide opportunities for personal and professional growth, increase job satisfaction, and boost confidence in their abilities. When employees feel they are excelling in their careers, they are more enthusiastic about doing them. Instead of being stagnant in a job, employees would like to progress towards something more significant, such as a promotion or a leadership position. Employees who feel valued and supported in their careers are more likely to remain with the company for the long term.

Why Should Employers Invest In Employee Development? 

Investing in employee development leads to a more skilled and productive workforce. Employees who receive continuous training and education are better equipped to handle challenges, adapt to changes, become leaders, and contribute to innovative ideas. This can give your company a significant competitive advantage in your industry.

Sometimes, employers believe that development is expensive and risky. They don’t want to invest money in development only for their employees to take that knowledge to a new job. However, employees leaving will always be a risk. If you choose not to invest in employee development, there will be widening knowledge and skill gaps, diminished engagement, and a lack of innovation.

Investing in development also helps you recruit top-tier candidates who want to join a company that is committed to growth. Happier and more engaged employees tend to be more productive and motivated to do better work. By focusing on continued learning, you can encourage a culture of innovation and adaptability that gives your business a reputation for being forward-looking, relevant, and fresh.

It’s also essential to advance employees' knowledge and skills so that eventually, they can be promoted to leadership roles. Promoting from within is almost always easier than recruiting from outside. This also contributes to a future-ready workplace that can keep up with evolving trends and stay ahead of the industry.

Create A Retention-Boosting Employee Development Program

To craft an engaging and practical training program that aligns with employees' daily workflows and piques their interest in learning, consider incorporating the following elements into your plan:

Continuous learning

As a small business owner, it's essential to promote a continuous learning culture. Due to the constant evolution of industries, there’s always something new to learn. You can promote your company's commitment to learning through your core values, employee handbook, employee training, company meetings, and day-to-day employee conversations.

Personalized development

Involve your employees in the planning process by asking them about their short and long-term goals, which skills they are interested in learning, and how they enjoy learning. Take these factors into account when you create your development program to ensure it’s a meaningful, engaging, and fulfilling experience for your employees.

Day-to-day operations

Your development program should be easily implemented in daily operational activities and the company's goals. Employees must feel what they are learning is valuable to their daily working lives and enable them to make a positive impact on the organization.

It’s also important to create short and more frequent bursts of micro-training focused on singular topics that employees can complete on their own time. If the training is short and easy to digest, it will be easier to implement as a frequent activity that fits into their busy day-to-day schedules. As a result, learning will be incorporated into the workplace culture more often, be more effective, and occur more often.

Make it simple

Development programs can involve attending conferences and going on trips, but it can also be simple. Learning can be as convenient as:

  • Reading an article in an industry publication
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Completing a short e-learning module
  • Attending a lunch-and-lean session
  • Engaging in a coaching session with a manager

Your employees do not always have to go elsewhere to achieve professional growth. Growth can happen right within your organization, including mentorships with someone in higher positions, peer collaboration, and cross-training. Leaders should lead by example and actively support employee development initiatives.

Monitor and reward

Sometimes, employees need an extra push to complete development programs. Reward employees for mastering new skills, from anything to a bonus, extra paid time off (PTO), a gift, or a promotion from within. Recognizing and rewarding employees who demonstrate mastery of new skills can motivate others to engage in development opportunities.

It’s also essential to monitor the effectiveness and appeal of your development programs and what works and what doesn’t. Ask for feedback from employees on what they would prefer and how to improve. Study your turnover rates, survey employees about the development opportunities you've offered, ask about development opportunities during exit interviews and have managers talk with employees in one-on-one meetings.

Your Partner In Employee Development And Retention

In today's rapidly changing environment, investing in employee development is no longer an option but a necessity. Your employees are your greatest asset. However, ongoing employee management and training are significant challenges, especially when there’s only so much time in the day.

That’s why GMS works with businesses to help them retain top talent. Our comprehensive suite of services is designed to support businesses in creating and implementing effective employee development programs.

Our HR experts work closely with clients to assess their unique needs and develop customized solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can support your organization's commitment to development.

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