Henry Ford said, “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”

When employees feel they are acquiring new skills, have development opportunities and a clear career path they are more likely to be engaged with their job and stay with the organization.

It is not enough to offer training programs, it is critical to communicate and provide appropriate and engaging learning and development opportunities to your employees (especially to Gen Y employees). If you identify high potential employees and systematically increase and broaden their skills, you will also do more to retain rising stars in your organization.

There are two types of development Job specific or in current knowledge area (depth) and new skills (breadth). Both are important but there are many reasons to expand the skill set of your employees to add new potential strengths:

  • You don’t know what they might turn out to be great at, or interested in, beyond what their current role involves.
  • You need to build a broader talent pool, a network of possible replacements that could be tapped as business needs change (or as key people leave the organization).
  • You need to develop a strong learning culture, one where employees naturally seek out new skills and competencies with less explicit prodding from you or your HR partners.
  • You want your people engaged and interested in the work and research shows that new, challenging assignments are one of the best ways to accomplish this.

(source: Taleo Research White Paper -Learning and Development: The New Business of Business Leaders)

Large employees are continuing to use training and career opportunities as part of their Total Rewards portfolio.  A recent Aon Hewitt Total Rewards survey reports that over half of organizations focus on Career development (61%) and training/ learning (56%) to increase engagement and retention.

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