How to Reduce High Employee Turnover: Skills Training

By BrainStation March 19, 2019

Employee turnover is something all companies battle with, but there’s a tool in your arsenal to fight back: Skills training.

Whether it’s personal development courses or accelerated corporate training, employee skills training can keep people engaged, empowered, and happy at work, which ultimately boosts employee retention.

Here is a closer look at how skills training can help you fight employee turnover.

Skills Training Mitigates Feelings of Digital Anxiety

According to a study commissioned by Microsoft: 49 percent of employees fear change when digital transformation initiatives are introduced; 59 percent are concerned about job security where tasks are automated; and 39 percent feel anxious when new technology is introduced. 

To mitigate this, the Microsoft study suggested that companies and managers follow this course of action: 

  • Emphasize the collaborative potential of new digital technologies
  • Allow people to experience new technologies
  • Clarify how new technologies will fit in your organization
  • Establish a culture of continuous improvement and innovation

As we’ve written about, regular digital skills training is the easiest way to put these suggestions into action, as it empowers employees with skills and hands-on experience, and establishes a company culture that is open to new ideas and learning.

It Keeps the Job Interesting

No matter someone’s role or paycheque — be it a front-end web developer or vice-president of the company — doing the same job every day can get a little stagnant. And it’s particularly true if the job doesn’t include new challenges or opportunities to grow.

That, in turn, can lead to feelings of boredom, and research shows that’s bad news. “The more work-related boredom employees experience, the more they intend to leave the job,” concludes one 2018 study on boredom at work.

Thankfully, employee training can break that cycle of boredom. “New experiences don’t always have to come with promotions or vertical projects,” says career coach Eileen Chadnick, principal of Big Cheese Coaching. “It can be gaining exposure to a new skill or new software.”

Useful, engaging training allows people to break out of their daily routine and use their brain in a different way — and that’s a job benefit many people don’t want to give up, according to Sarah Vermunt, a career coach and author of Careergasm: Find Your Way To Feel-Good Work.

It Helps Employees Grow

Picture this: A graphic designer with a decade of experience whose role now involves the same client base every year, and the same corporate promotional materials to design month after month. After doing that work for a while, that employee might start to feel a little creatively stifled.

It’s a situation that’s often overlooked, but not ideal for companies: Coupled with boredom, feeling stunted in a job is another common reason people hit the road.

“As human beings, we all have an innate ability to grow and evolve,” says Chadnick. “When we’re not evolving ourselves, we’re not actualizing our potential and life can become pretty flat.”

Self-actualization might sound like a lofty goal, but Chadnick says employers can actually contribute to this growth and reduce turnover in their employees through training opportunities for their teams.

It Gives Workers a Reboot

Get ready in the morning. Grab a coffee. Hurry to work. Sit in traffic. Rush to a meeting, rush to a client call, rush to finish projects before the workday ends. Hurry home, crash, repeat.

That go-go-go workplace culture can be downright exhausting for employees, and research shows those that are most caught up in their busy jobs can be the most burnt out. One 2018 study of 1,000 American workers finds that many employees who are highly engaged in their work are also exhausted — and ready to quit.

Employee training may be part of a job, but Vermunt says it’s a totally different vibe that can give employees a boost.

How, exactly? By giving people an opportunity to step away from the daily grind and immerse themselves in new ideas, she explains.

“It refreshes the rest of your work,” Vermunt says.

It Ensures Employees Feel Valued

We’ve all heard stories about people feeling undervalued by their boss or overlooked by senior management. But when people vent about those workplace frustrations, they’re not always talking about a promotion or a pay raise.

Feeling appreciated is also a big factor in employee retention, according to Chadnick. And training can help build those fuzzy feelings in a company’s staff, she adds, because it’s a signal to employees that their company wants to invest in their growth on more than just an economic level — it shows they’re an important part of the team in the long-term.

“There’s maybe a little sense of — I don’t want to say loyalty — but you gain a bit more commitment from an employee,” Chadnick says.

It Builds Corporate Culture

According to one 2017 study, there’s a direct connection between organizational culture and employee retention — and that’s a wake-up call for companies to make sure their employees feel like they’re working in a positive corporate culture.

So what makes a positive corporate culture, exactly? For many employees, it’s often based on enjoying their time at work and their interactions with colleagues. “People want to be part of a team,” says Chadnick.

Training sessions help boost that sense of camaraderie, she adds. “People meet others in the company, it creates congeniality and builds new relationships and community.”

It also creates a new conversation starter for workers, like sharing their newfound ability to code in HTML with peers or using Google Adwords.

While training fosters a positive culture internally, Vermunt says there’s another perk as well: Employees working in that type of atmosphere are also inclined to rave about their job to others, which could not only reduce turnover of current employees but also encourage other all-star workers to join the company as well.

“If an organization has a reputation for training and development, that can actually help recruitment,” says Vermunt.

Find out more about BrainStation’s corporate training options