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Boost your retention rates: The importance of investing in employee development

There are many ways to boost retention throughout an organization. One of the most effective ways is to invest in the development of your employees.

A woman working at her computer. She's sitting in front of a coffee table, with her legs under the coffee table. She has a cup of coffee next to her computer. She's wearing a yellow cardigan, white tanktop, jeans and glasses. She's barefoot and appears to be working from home.A woman working at her computer. She's sitting in front of a coffee table, with her legs under the coffee table. She has a cup of coffee next to her computer. She's wearing a yellow cardigan, white tanktop, jeans and glasses. She's barefoot and appears to be working from home.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

We all know that retaining employees is crucial for organizational success. High employee turnover rates affect your company culture and increase talent recruitment expenses. Plus, when people leave, they take essential company knowledge and skills with them.

There are many ways to boost retention throughout an organization. One of the most effective ways is to invest in the development of your employees.

Why is employee retention necessary?

Employee retention measures an organization's ability to retain its employees. Retaining employees saves money and improves job satisfaction, productivity and overall organizational performance. Conversely, high turnover rates can negatively impact company culture and performance, as new employees need time to adapt and learn the ropes.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost per hire is almost $4,700, and the average time to fill a position is 33 to 49 days, depending on the job function. Moreover, the cost to replace an employee can be as much as three to four times the position’s salary, according to some estimates. These statistics show that investing in employee retention is cost-effective in the long run.

How can employee development boost retention?

Investing in employee development offers numerous benefits for both employers and employees. Employee development enhances job satisfaction, increases productivity and improves employee engagement.

Employee development refers to improving an employee's skills, knowledge and abilities. But employee development isn’t just about making employees better at their current and future jobs. Investing in employee development also shows employees that their employers are investing in their growth.

When employees feel invested in, they are more likely to remain engaged and loyal to their companies. Moreover, employee development provides opportunities for employees to enhance their skills in preparation for new roles within the organization, which can lead to promotions and hiring from within (which also boosts retention). Plus, employee development programs can help organizations attract top talent and boost their reputation.

What strategies can you implement to retain employees?

There are an endless number of strategies to retain employees. Many companies focus on offering competitive salaries and benefits. Others promote opportunities for career advancement, flexible work arrangements and work/life balance. Recognizing and rewarding employees for contributions and achievements can also benefit employee retention rates.

Innovative employee retention ideas can help organizations stand out from the competition and retain their employees. For example, health and wellness programs, paid sabbaticals and unlimited vacation time can attract and retain top talent. Additionally, mentorship programs, professional development opportunities and coaching can show employees that their employer is committed to their growth and development.

Understanding what your employees want is key to developing an effective retention strategy. Gallup notes the follow factors that rank highly for employees today:

  1. Income and benefits
  2. Work/life balance and personal wellbeing
  3. The opportunity to do their best work
  4. Stability and job security
  5. Corporate policies that align with their beliefs
  6. Diversity and inclusivity

The best way to learn what your current employees most want from you is by asking them.

Using enterprise live learning to support retention

An impactful learning program can be very successful at supporting retention across an organization. The most successful enterprise live learning programs are customized to meet unique organizational needs, including upskilling and reskilling across a variety of topics like wellness, people management, communication skills, innovation, inclusion and more.

Although there are many learning programs available to organizations, not all learning programs are created for impact. Learning programs that support retention must be aligned with your company’s values and your employees desires. For example, if collaboration is one of your core values, you will want to find a learning platform that allows your employees to take classes together versus asynchronously. Likewise, if DEI is a priority, you should seek an enterprise live learning platform that offers training from a diverse instructor base. Lastly, if your employees are hoping for a better work/life balance, classes that help them prioritize and avoid distractions are a must.

The key, when searching for an enterprise live learning platform is to understand what you want and seek a solution that meets your needs today and can evolve as your company and workforce evolve. After all, the way we work is continuously changing.

How to know if an enterprise live learning program is boosting retention

There are many reasons to implement an enterprise live learning program, but if retention is your core objective, you will want to measure the impact of the learning program on retention.

Here are a handful of ways you can evaluate how your learning program is boosting retention:

1. Benchmark your retention prior to implementing the new learning program. 

Compare your retention data 3 months, 6 months and 12 months after implementing the new learning program to your pre-learning program benchmark figure. How much has it improved?

2. Collect feedback.

Not just from employees participating in the program,  but also from those not participating in the program. Measure job satisfaction across the two groups and compare.

3. When people depart, conduct exit interviews. 

Ask specifically why they’re leaving. If you notice a reduction in comments related to topics your learning program addresses, the learning program is doing its job.

4. Compare the cost of the learning program against the cost of hiring due to turnover. 

How much are you saving? This is your ROI.

Employees stay when they feel good.

Investing in employee development is crucial for retaining employees and achieving business goals. By offering opportunities for growth and development, organizations can show their employees that they are valued and committed to their success. Yes, competitive salaries and benefits are important for retention. But employees also want to feel nurtured with room to grow. Learning programs customized to the needs of your corporate objectives and your employee desires can boost retention by making employees feel good about their work.


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