In our post, Improve Tech Talent Retention through Employee Training and Development, we made the case for why organizations need to think about professional development as a key part of tech talent retention. In this post, we share best practices for leaders of professional development and training teams to execute your employee retention strategy, help your tech employees, as well as employees in other departments, build tech skills and increase employee engagement.
Consider these four best practices to leverage training and development to help you execute your employee retention strategy.
- Spark Interest with Possibilities
To start, as one longtime colleague asked me a while back: how will employees know to raise their hands for training, who to ask, or how to ask? And if employees don’t raise their hands to ask for training, how does an employer know that training could be the pivotal factor that makes employees want to stay with the company?
Train managers must begin by opening up the dialogue – asking questions about interests, and demonstrating possibilities for professional development to illuminate potential. When leadership has better information about what employees want and need, they have a valuable tool to improve motivation and talent retention.
Does your company routinely encourage employees to look for what’s next in their careers? Do your employees know what the opportunities are for lateral and upward movement? Start the conversation by:
Asking team members about their interests
- Staying abreast of employee home life changes that may require them to work fewer hours or earn more
- Providing windows into what their futures could look like – with Day in the Life introductions showcasing how a wide variety of educational backgrounds and work experiences can prepare them for those future moves
This first step is absolutely essential for employees from nontraditional education backgrounds, and/or those who don’t have existing professional networks to draw on, for example: cultivating talent retention starts by showing what the future can be for an individual with their talents, hard and soft skills, and drive to achieve.
- Make Training Requests Easy
Next, team leaders and managers should understand that it can be daunting for employees to ask for something new from their bosses, especially when there’s both a dollar cost and prospective hours taken away from the job to devote to training courses.
As a boss – it’s your job to make requests for training easy. Full stop.
Create a training request process that’s easily accessible and promote the request process widely throughout your company, from frontline to senior roles – remove the awkwardness and open up the dialogue. This April piece from Momentum, published at the time of the first Great Resignation peak in April 2021, outlines practices that employers can promote to employees to make their request for training easier. Publish training request practices widely. Show your investment in your employees by walking the walk.
- Demonstrate Active Interest in Learning and Development
At all levels of the company, team and department leaders should incorporate professional development discussions and evaluation into both formal performance reviews and informal conversation. Taking it a step further, SHRM said that companies should actively market training opportunities to their employees by marketing each of their training programs “as if it were for customers. Leverage your public relations, graphics and marketing departments to brand and promote your programs, and design surveys to get feedback from participants.”
Now is the time to make employee growth not only workable – it’s time to make it the norm. When your company becomes known internally and externally for growth and development – for caring about employee futures – THAT’S when employees will care about the company’s future, and your company will make measurable improvement in talent retention.
- Report on Company Progress
To maximize investment in employee training and development, employers can showcase upward and lateral employee role changes, and award top performers who stay in their roles. Make professional development and achievement dual hallmarks in your company. SHRM emphasizes that companies should “celebrate achievements and successes. Let everyone in your organization know when someone completed training and what that means to their growth opportunities. Advertise your programs and participants in internal communications, display their pictures and stories, and talk about it at every employee gathering.” That helps you reap the benefits – and build enthusiasm and momentum for your company’s growth.
Let’s all work together to replace the Great Resignation catchphrase with Enthusiasm and Momentum by executing on against your innovative employee retention strategy this year.
Contact Momentum to learn more about how we can help.