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2017. It’s an introspective time, where we look at what habits need to be curbed and where we can improve in our lives. For companies, the first quarter of the financial year is typically the time when human resources departments regroup and rethink strategies.

Retention has recently become a major concern for business leaders. Nearly four out of five leaders (or 78%) rank employee retention as important or urgent.

When onboarding new hires, 73% of organizations revamp their onboarding to improve future employee retention. This is because making that connection early on with new workers helps to improve employee longevity.

Often times, HR professionals are simply unaware that employees are unhappy until they’re already out the door. If for no other reason than monetary, one of your top concerns should be to make sure that all of your employees – especially seasoned ones – don’t quit because of an issue that could have been easily solved.

While it’s hard to predict the true cost of employee turnover as there are varying degrees of intangibles and additional costs, a 2012 Center for American Progress Study found that the average costs to replace an employee are:

  • 16% of annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (under $30,000/year). Eg: the cost to replace a $10/hour retail employee would be $3,328.
  • 20% of annual salary for mid-range positions (ranging from $30,000 to $50,000/year). Eg: The cost to replace a $40,000 manager would be $8,000.
  • Up to 213% of annual salary for highly educated executive positions. Eg: The cost to replace a $100,000 CEO is $213,000.

For HR professionals, creating retention strategies that can be spread out over the year is an important function. This is when HR should turn to their new best friend – training!

Training is the distinction between ‘what is now’ and ‘what should it be’. Effective employee training programs have been linked to improved retention and engagement rates. HR professionals know this all too well.

It’s interesting to note that employers want their new employees to hit the ground running. How curious that those same business leaders who were concerned about retention are not as supportive when it comes to training. This can often speak to why retention is so high. In a boss’ eyes, it boils down to lack of time, money or because training may not ensure employee loyalty. Instead, the result of their investment might simply be the fact that they’ve provided their employee skills to use for their next job at a different company. HR professionals hear this lament often enough to understand why most times training takes a back seat.

Leaders should think of training as a crucial element of what your organization can offer to any employee that will lead to increased job satisfaction, motivation and growth within the company.

Take a proactive approach to planning your training this year. If you are getting push back about costs or demands for proof of effectiveness, advocate on behalf of your employees and cite statistics to back you up. Stand up and proclaim that employee efficiency results in operational cost savings and increased capacity, resulting in company financial gains. Having your employees gain new technology and soft skills also improves operational metrics.

So push back HR – training is your new best friend!

I invite you to share your experiences or thoughts, or comments. You can contact me for more information on soft skills/interpersonal skills workshops that can transform employees, retain employees and engage employees.