Employee training: The antidote to high turnover
Businesses that wish to stop their young talent from leaving must adjust to modern training expectations and offer robust employee development programs.
High turnover is a problem for businesses in a variety of industries. Even venerated advertising agencies are struggling to retain talent, The New York Times reported.
“The biggest threat – and one of the biggest things that we talk a lot about – is not only attracting but retaining young talent because there are so many more options,” David Droga, founder of the New York-based agency Droga5, told the newspaper. “Beanbags and softball matches and a cool Twitter handle doesn’t make young people want to work at your office.”
According to the Harvard Business Review, young workers want the opportunity to advance and build their skill sets by fulfilling employee training programs. If businesses fail to meet these expectations, young workers will leave. In fact, many – even the happy ones – already have one foot out the door. In a study of 7,700 employees aged 18 to 35 conducted by the consulting and research firm Deloitte, more than 60 percent of respondents said they are prepared to leave their current positions by 2020.
Businesses that wish to stop their young talent from joining this mass exodus must adjust to modern training expectations and offer robust employee development programs. Such initiatives should accomplish some salient training objectives.
Most young workers thirst for mentorship opportunities, the Harvard Business Review reported. These talented contributors want to connect with executive staff, widen their skill sets and engage with the organizational mission. So, give them the opportunity to do so.
Scrap the traditional mentorship model and develop a training plan that facilitates two-way learning. This approach, called reverse mentorship, allows junior employees to pick up key soft skills and enables executive staffers to learn new technical tricks from their mentees.
Anonymous mentoring is another unique alternative to more well-established methodologies. In this arrangement, organizations match younger employees with anonymous, third-party developmental coaches or trainers. Mentees communicate with their matches via email. They ask for advice ahead of big presentations or request tips on interpersonal disputes. Often, this seemingly cold communication method allows participants to develop real rapport.
“I felt like I had a twin out there somewhere,” Bob Wall, a retired, Connecticut-based consultant who took part in such a program, told the Harvard Business Review. “It turned out to be a highly intimate relationship while remaining completely anonymous. When the six months was up, it was like losing a dear friend.”
In the Deloitte survey, of the 5 percent of respondents who planned to remain in their current jobs for the next five years, 88 percent said a sense of purpose kept them hanging on. Leverage this generational desire for purpose by building employee training programs that enable participants to connect to your company’s wider mission.
Informational sessions that touch on particularly inspiring moments in organizational history are good starting points. Global accounting firm KPMG hosted such sessions and built an entire internal awareness initiative centered on its storied past, the Harvard Business Review reported. The firm highlighted key company moments in a video series – its involvement in the 1981 Iran hostage crisis and role in certifying the 1994 election of South African President Nelson Mandela counted among them – and developed an online application that enabled employees to share their purpose with peers. KPMG incentivized participation in the program by offering two days off to everyone in the company if they met an internal sharing threshold of 10,000 stories. Employees ultimately contributed more than 42,000 stories. The turnover rate dropped from 9.1 to 5.6.
Of course, you don’t have to go as far as KPMG to inspire your employees. According to Inc., putting in place training programs that offer new experiences will also do the trick. Allow employees to cross-train for other roles and enable knowledge-sharing. Get them invested in the success of other departments. Additionally, try pulling them into interviews with external job applicants. According to industry leaders, this simple act can catalyze self-discovery and help employees reflect on their connection to their employer.
“It’s amazing how much employees learn about themselves by asking questions of applicants and getting to answer questions of applicants themselves about their experience at the company,” Dan Ruch, CEO of the New York-based travel startup Rocketrip, told the magazine. “It triggers a conversation about the purpose and the mission that employees are experiencing themselves.”
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