Study says employee training might increase turnover

If your team members are well-versed in CE, you might need to offer them opportunities to advance if you want them to stick around to use the new knowledge.
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Jun 20, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

You put time, effort and money into making sure your team members are trained and up to speed on the latest advances in the veterinary field. But once you give them that training or send them to a conference, are you also providing them with career advancement opportunities that put their new skills to the test? A new study by University of Iowa researchers finds that many of these programs might actually increase turnover while driving up a business’ costs.

The study found that employees feel little compulsion to stay with an employer that provides professional development if they don’t see any career advancement opportunities. According to the study’s authors, only those employees who can see a way forward in their careers will stay with an employer. Otherwise, professional development opportunities might simply make their workers more employable by other businesses. This suggests that successful employee development is more than just providing development opportunities. For those investments to pay off, you need to show you offer adequate career advancement opportunities.

Researchers found that employees who participated in professional development opportunities were more likely to say they would stay with their employer only if they saw attractive career possibilities. Few felt a responsibility to stay with their current employer if they saw no career advancement opportunities. Researchers say more developmental support is associated with higher performance and lower turnover generally. However, when career opportunities are low, development support was not related to performance and it actually increased turnover.

As a result, the researchers said much of the $134 billion that businesses spend on employee development each year could be wasted if businesses don’t assure their employees that they have a promising career with the employer. This is compounded by the costs associated with hiring and training the employees who replace those who leave for better jobs.