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Continue to Hire & Train or Retain with Continuous Training

This post has been nagging at me for a good while … nagging in a good way, as I knew I had to write about this topic or go mad(der).

Yesterday did it though. I was reading an article on LinkedIn and it reported that an absurd percentage of people who change jobs, do so because of their boss. I guess that is somewhat logical. On the other hand I thought, what could you do, as a boss or a true leader, to increase the retention rate and lessen the turn-over rate?

One answer: Continuously invest time and dollars in training your current employees and direct reports. If you engage with people, they are less likely to leave you. Yes, even during the times when you are less than a stellar boss.

The cycle is really depressing. Hire, train, explain and then 89 days later… rinse and repeat. What a waste of time and energy, let alone the funds required to do all of that.

I am currently reading the Elon Musk book, and it advocates that you can win in the long run by employing a less-than-kind management style, yes, management, not leadership, but it is surely a bloody trail.

The alternative, and I am not giving leadership advice here insomuch as offering one way to retain your people, is to find out what they are interested in and simply send them away to learn that. One day, one week, one semester or one degree at a time. It works.

Over the course of the 15+ years, as owners and operators of an awesome mechanical service company, me, my wife and the key people at our company, proved it works.

There were 13 young people, and not-so-young in a few cases, that we paid for all of their technical school course work, including all tuition and books, to enable them to get a degree or diploma in the HVAC field.

There were also many more courses, sessions and seminars that were paid for by our company so that non-technical folks could also benefit from learning. Leadership, sales, welding, whatever they wanted.

We budgeted for it and stuck to it.

That doesn’t sound like a lot of people in the grand scheme of life, but many of those folks are still with the company, even through the selling and merging with another company.

My philosophy was, and still is today, I don’t care what the subject matter of the training program is, if people want to get educated, help them. When enrolled in any type of program, especially as a working adult, you are usually all gathered there for one reason… because you genuinely want to learn.

We have all read about how many jobs each person will have in their careers, how many jobs are just “contract work”, etc., essentially saying, “no one stays at a company very long, anymore.

I disagree.

If people are engaged in meaningful work, treated even remotely fairly and have a voice that matters they will stay with you a whole lot longer than they will if you use them only as a tool. People understand they can’t have it all, but they at least want to be valued.

Obviously that is a broad-brush statement. Yes, some will leave, yes some will get caught in a RIF, etc… but all in all, good people want great places to work.

Do your part. Train & retain.

Until next time, stay juxtaposed.

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