How to Create an Education Program That Helps Retain Employees

  • Many workers quit their jobs due to a lack of career development opportunities.
  • On-the-job training and education programs can help companies retain valuable workers.
  • Here’s how business owners can create training programs in their company.
  • This article is part of Talent Insider, a series featuring expert advice to help small business owners navigate a range of hiring challenges.

Some people change jobs for a very simple reason: “Moving up the ladder often means moving,” said Bridgitt Haarsgaard, founder and CEO of corporate leadership consultancy The GAARD ​​Group.

Unfortunately, many employees have to change companies to get the career development and salaries they seek, Haarsgaard said. But it doesn’t have to be that way if a company is investing in upskilling its workers, she added.

Business owners complain that they can’t find the “right people,” but they’re really looking for “unicorns”—candidates with the exact skills, years of experience, and degrees they want—that don’t exist. not, Bill Schaninger, a senior partner at McKinsey who co-authored a 2022 report on human capital and work experience, previously told Insider. Instead, leaders should look to available talent and provide those people with the right training, he added.

“Historically, attracting employees has been a barrier for small businesses, which are facing increased labor shortages due to the fallout from the pandemic and a shift towards an employee-centric labor market” , Grant Freeman, chief customer officer at Thryv, a SaaS platform for business management, told Insider in a written statement. “On-the-job training and education programs can play a central role in recruiting and retaining employees.”

Often, on-the-job training is not just a helpful perk, but a necessary tool for retaining employees, three managers and business leaders told Insider. Here’s how to create an education program for your workers.

Make sure it benefits your employees and your business

There are two major benefits for employers who offer on-the-job training programs: current employees will gain the skills needed to adapt to a changing market, and they will feel more valued and therefore more loyal to the workplace. company, said Haarsgard.

“When employees’ vision of themselves is nurtured, they feel supported and secure and can see their future in a company,” she said. “They work better and businesses get better results.”

On-the-job training programs that allow employees to learn and immerse themselves in roles outside of their official duties can also improve mobility within the company and increase retention, said Linda Jingfang. Cai, Vice President of Talent Development at LinkedIn.

Additionally, some employers find it cheaper to retrain a current employee than to hire a new one, Freeman said.

Yet, while the programs will benefit the employer, employees should remain the priority. “The most important part is that the program has to be about them,” Haarsgaard said. “It should be about improving their skills, achieving their goals and helping them overcome challenges.”

Know your options

Entrepreneurs can implement training programs in their company in a variety of ways, from partnering with universities to purchasing online courses for workers.

For example, Peter Dufall sets aside funds in case one of his 15 employees wants to take a course that matches his duties at his dog daycare and spa business, Dogtopia. This can include grooming classes, pet CPR or a veterinary tech course, he previously told Insider.

“It’s not uncommon for me to write a check for $500,” he said, adding that he takes the funds from his continuing education and charity budgets.

Meanwhile, online platforms like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning and Udemy provide instantly available content, Freeman said.

Whether a company offers an intensive degree program or a one-off course, Haarsgaard recommended a hybrid approach regardless of the training adopted by the company. For example, after watching a short video about a skill or task, participants should then be offered an activity that challenges them to apply their new knowledge, Haarsgaard said.

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