Training and Development for Employee Motivation and Retention

March 23, 2009

Training and Development for Employee Motivation and Retention

by Susan M. Heathfield

One key factor in employee motivation and retention is the opportunity employees want to continue to grow and develop job and career enhancing skills. In fact, this opportunity to continue to grow and develop through training and development is one of the most important factors in employee motivation.

There are a couple of secrets about what employees want from training and development opportunities, however. Plus, training and development opportunities are not just found in external training classes and seminars. These ideas emphasize what employees want in training and development opportunities. They also articulate your opportunity to create devoted, growing employees who will benefit both your business and themselves through your training and development opportunities.

Training and Development Option: Job Content and Responsibilities

You can impact training and development significantly through the responsibilities in an employee’s current job.

a) Expand the job to include new, higher level responsibilities.

b) Reassign responsibilities that the employee does not like or that are routine.

c) Provide more authority for the employee to self-manage and make decisions.

d) Invite the employee to contribute to more important, department or company-wide decisions and planning.

e) Provide more access to important and desirable meetings.

f) Provide more information by including the employee on specific mailing lists, in company briefings, and in your confidence.

g) Provide more opportunity to establish goals, priorities, and measurements.

h) Assign reporting staff members to his or her leadership or supervision.

i) Assign the employee to head up projects or teams.

j) Enable the employee to spend more time with his or her boss.

k) Provide the opportunity for the employee to cross-train in other roles and responsibilities.

Training and Development Option: Formal Training and Development

a) Enable the employee to attend an external seminar.

b) Enable the employee to attend an internally offered training session.

c) Perform all of the activities listed before, during, and after a training session to ensure that the learning is transferred to the employee’s job.

d) Ask the employee to train other employees with the information learned at a seminar or training session.

e) Purchase business books for the employee. Sponsor a book club or offer the time at a department meeting to discuss the information or present the information learned to others.

f) Offer commonly-needed training and information on an Intranet, an internal company website.

g) Pay for the employee to take online classes and identify low or no cost online training.

h) Provide a flexible schedule so the employee can take time to attend university, college, or other formal educational sessions.

i) Provide tuition assistance to encourage the employee’s pursuit of additional education.

I promised several motivation and retention “secrets” relative to employee training and development. These are key factors in multiplying the value of the training and development you provide.

a) Allow employees to pursue training and development in directions they choose, not just in company-assigned and needed directions.

b) Have your company support learning, in general, and not just in support of knowledge needed for the employee’s current or next anticipated job. Recognize that the key factor is keeping the employee interested, attending, and engaged.

The development of a life-long engaged learner is a positive factor for your organization no matter how long the employee chooses to stay in your employ. Use these training and development activities to ensure that you optimize the employee’s motivation and potential retention.

[About the Author: Susan Heathfield is a Human Resources expert. She is a management and organization development consultant who specializes in human resources issues and in management development to create forward thinking workplaces. Susan is also a professional facilitator, speaker, trainer, and writer. Susan is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).]

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