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Train to Retain

Retention is the ultimate goal when first hiring a new staff member.

This first week in Oct. I presented a session titled “Train to Retain” at the Iowa Society of Human Resources (SHRM). When looking at training as a retention strategy, there are three main things to consider – The Welcome, The Leadership, and The Maintenance. The three are explained below.

The Welcome: I believe people, especially after the trauma of the pandemic, are craving connection. Connection between people, connection to the company they work with and connection to values when they work. When looking at welcoming individuals into an organization, using training time to build connections between employees through activities and icebreakers and values through stories will build a stronger and more connected workforce.

The Leadership: In the workplace repeatedly those with the best technical skills get promoted into supervisor positions despite their lack of leadership skills and qualities. When we are looking to retain employees, we need to give their leaders the tools to be good leaders. (Yes, this is a simple idea, but you would be surprised how many organizations don’t have formal leadership training!)

We know that people leave bad leaders, what hasn’t been talked about enough is people staying in order to keep working with good leaders. Teaching leaders emotional intelligence skills (with an emphasis on empathy), psychological safety and communication skills have shown to make a significant impact on retention.

The Maintenance: People want to work for companies that invest in them. According to a LinkedIn study in 2019, 94% of people will stay at a company longer if the company simply invested in their learning. Asking employees what they want to learn, how they learn best and what learning will have the most impact on them can get that conversation started. Growth for individuals doesn’t always mean getting into leadership, it may mean growing within a position, or growing the skills to take on a lateral position they find more interesting and challenging.

In addition to the three buckets above, we need to shift our thinking about training as an event – to an experience. How do we create enjoyable training experiences for people? What can we do make that boring annual compliance training (I know you have one of those..) something people look forward to? What can we do to allow

Reflection Question: How do I create training experiences that address connection in the welcome, emotional intelligence in the leadership, and ongoing learning in the maintenance?

Next Topic: Trick or Treat?

If you would like the full “Train to Retain” presentation contact



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