Customer Experience Management strategies Web-Synergies-Insights
May 15, 2013 12:30 PM

Train To Retain

Corporate training is perceived as a bugbear by some and an essential by others.  Up-skilling your staff and promoting your own products and services to others should be far more than a “day off” in the eyes of the participants.


As one who has attended and delivered many such sessions over the years, I would be the first to concede that the ones I have attended are often a mixed bag, ranging from the riveting to the down right soporific.

A good training programme is all about building staff engagement; getting them motivated and clued up so that they can make a meaningful contribution not only to your company but also to their own feeling of self-worth.

Engaged employees are pivotal to the success or failure of a business.  A recent Dale Carnegie blog post reports that 69% of ‘disengaged employees’ would hand in their notice and take up an offer with another company if that enterprise offered them just 5% more money.  With ‘engaged employees’ it would take a 20% raise on their current remuneration to make them consider a shift to another company.

Staff retention and turnover is a prime consideration and worry for many businesses and it is especially so in a country like Singapore, where job hopping is endemic.

Finance and accounting specialist recruitment firm Robert Half found that Singapore employees in their sector were the world’s most chronic job hoppers, serving a shorter period of tenure in a job than anywhere else in the world. The reasons given were “better remuneration, promotion, a new challenge, an overseas posting or more flexible work arrangements”.

Not that personal gain is necessarily always the primary motivation to jump ship.  A 2011 study by NTU student Teh Kai Feng also suggested that the job-hopping trend in Singapore could also be partially attributed to way the education system is designed rather than purely personal motivation.

Human Resource consultant Angeline Seah told Ryan Ong of MoneySmart that she believes the Internet has also made it a lot easier for job-hoppers:

“Job hopping has become prevalent because of the Internet. In the past, it was a time consuming process to go from one employer to another. But the rise of job sites, like monster and JobsDB, has turned the employment market into a true marketplace. Nowadays, all you need is an Internet connection and five minutes. You can compare all the available jobs, and online applications are fast.”

She also cited waiting for a pay rise as being a contributing factor:

“Job hoppers work on the principle that switching jobs is easier than waiting for a pay raise. A job switch may raise income by 20% in a month. Pay raises are about 4%, and may take a year.”

What ever the reason, such a high turnover does not auger well for business continuity and is stressful for senior staff who are faced with the unenviable and repetitive task of recruiting replacements.

There was a time before the age of Millennials where a job for life was both an aspiration and for many, a reality.

Now only 31% regard a ‘career-for-life’ with one employer as “relevant” (Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) survey). It is a reality that today’s employees are more self-centred than their predecessors.  Statistics also suggest that many of them will have changed jobs half a dozen times before reaching the age of thirty.

So what can you do to counteract this trend?

Providing excellent training opportunities for your employees will go some way towards retaining them as I have suggested above. The Kelly Services survey also showed that there is a common belief by over half of respondents (53%), that the only way to develop their skills and advance their careers was to leave their current position.

Your business challenge is to prove that this isn’t necessarily so; offer employees a career path within your organisation and give them the training they deserve to better themselves, and by extension, your enterprise.

The need for specialised skills is increasing not decreasing. High value jobs such as those in IT, sales & marketing and finance require increased levels of skills and so workplace education is critical.

If you are not going to provide it they feel even more motivated to leave you and find a company that will.

Of course your in-house train ing can be significantly enhanced if you make use of a good Learning Management system.  Web Synergies has developed iLearn which will help your company manage your of learning activities effectively.

Perhaps the final word, on why training must be high on your agenda, should come from Josh Bersin of Deloittes:

“Today’s business climate is one of global skills gaps. New technology, shifting markets, and changing demographics mean that manufacturers, service providers, telecommunications companies, technology companies, healthcare providers, and many other industries live and die by their skills. 

As companies globalise their businesses, the ability to build skills has become a deep competitive advantage.”

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