A Personal Note from Allison:

Love it or hate it – training and development is one of the key drivers for employee engagement and retention. Yet, many businesses shy away from offering either of these opportunities to their employees. Read on, to see how to make it work in your business, so that both the employee and the business reap the benefits.

Henry Ford was certainly a wise man. Not only was he the founder of the Ford Motor Company, he was a very smart businessman. He knew that training was a key component not only in employee retention, but also in business development and sustainability. His principles still ring true today.

As mentioned in some of my previous posts, I work with a variety of small business owners throughout the Lower Mainland, and I typically begin a new client relationship with a FREE Human Resources Audit. One of the components covered in the audit is employee training. The conversation often goes like this:

Allison:         “Tell me about the training you provide to your employees.”
Response:    “What training?” or “We can’t afford training.”
Allison:          “You can’t afford NOT to be training your employees.”

I’m not calling anyone out here. This is just the typical response to spending money, when the fear is that the employee gets the training, then takes it to another employer. There are several ways to work around this, so that you feel comfortable spending money on employee training, and your employees benefit by knowing you believe in them enough to invest in their development. That is the key word – “invest”. All employee training should be considered an investment in your employees and in your business.

When you have a new employee, you have to spend time training them on how things are done in your business. That is typical. For clients reluctant to spend money on developing their employees beyond the job description, I always recommend waiting until the employee has been on board for 12 months. This way, you know the employee better, you know their strengths and weaknesses, and whether they are going to be with you long-term (or at least “long-term” according to today’s standards), and if so, what other roles in the company they could be developed for.

This is important for employee retention, because employees are hungry for development. Plus, they want to know if they have a future in your company, and if so – what does it look like? This is a great conversation to have with employees during their annual performance appraisal meeting (if you have those), or when you are celebrating their one-year mark with your company. Of course, this conversation should not be limited to the one-year anniversary. As you are getting to know your employee throughout the year, find out what their career goals are. How can you help them achieve them? What training/development are they looking for? Then ask yourself, “what could I provide to this employee, to help them reach their goals?” It does not mean that you have to pay for all the training. If it is a large investment, you could offer to partner with the employee and share the costs, or pay the full amount, and have the employee sign a contract that if they leave within a pre-determined amount of time (12 or 24 months is typical) within completing the training, that they must pay a proportional amount of the money back to the company.

Investing in employee development is not just a benefit to the employee. Your business will also benefit from having employees who are more knowledgeable and are not limited to their job description. The employee who can help in other areas of the business offers flexibility to you as the business owner, and the broader work scope provides variety to the employee (which helps to keep things interesting).

When an employee is provided with training and development opportunities, it makes them feel valued, which keeps them engaged, which in turn makes them more happy and productive in the workplace. Everyone wins.

I invite you to connect with me, to learn more on this topic, and how I can help you with Human Resources in your workplace.


We would be pleased to assist you, in any way we can. Feel free to contact me directly at allison@bensonhr.com.