Training and Turnover Remain Biggest Hurdles for Employers

Training takes time. This is why turnover is one of the hardest things for an employer to face, whether that turnover occurs in an essential or non-essential role. Even when the most replaceable position needs to be filled, the time it takes to interview, hire, and train any employee is time you don’t have. It also takes funds. Funds to offset lost productivity and the hiring process. Chances are you haven’t budgeted for that expense, so all the more reason to look to avoid it altogether.

Turning the B-Team into the A-Team

Let’s assume you have made a hire, but they’re not exactly what they claimed to be in the interview. Or you have an existing employee who just can’t seem to grasp what you’re giving them. The bad news is that you’re not in a position to throw in the towel and start fresh. People aren’t disposable. Even if you terminate the individual, you’ll be left with not only the cost of the turnover but potentially the cost of an unemployment claim. That’s why it is so important to have a way to keep your current employees from leaving.

In any workplace, you will encounter varying levels of investment. People call out sick, people suffer from burnout, people make mistakes. It’s all a part of being human. Regardless, there is still a job that needs to be done, and the choice comes down to either putting the time and effort into the employees you currently have or getting rid of them and starting with another.

In either case, you still have to train an employee, and you have to commit to them. Managing can be difficult, but remembering these three P’s can make all the difference.


Everyone learns in a different way. The four different types of learning are visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Visual learners prefer to see info and visualize relationships between ideas. They do best with charts and graphics and developed visual presentations.

Auditory learners prefer to hear info rather than reading it or seeing it displayed visually. They like to recite information out loud to remember it. By giving these learners a chance to repeat your points back to you, you can increase retention. Reading/writing learners learn best when interacting with text. Presenting these learners with quizzes or handouts, or allowing them to write notes, will do wonders for them. Lastly, kinesthetic learners are hands-on, experimental learners that learn best by doing.

By figuring out what kind of learner you are working with, you can make your job as trainer all the easier. Make sure you ask questions about your employees’ preferred style of learning and give them an ample amount of time to master the task. Think about it like you’re teaching a child how to ride a bike. First you have to start with training wheels until they get the hang of the process. Once you take them off, you can determine whether they figured out the process or need more guidance from you. The adage “practice makes perfect” exists for a reason.


Throughout this entire process, patience is critical to success. Patience allows you as the trainer to remain calm and level-headed when providing the appropriate tutorials for your employee, whether they are new or just learning a new task. When you remain calm and invested, you will see that reciprocated by your employee.

It’s important to manage your own expectations as a trainer. Your employee may not get everything on the first try.

On the other hand, sometimes they might figure it out quickly but lack the speed to perform the task as expected. Not everyone can be on their A-game at all times, and it’s unrealistic to expect that from your employees. As a manager, you set the tone for your work environment.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a key tool in employee motivation. This is the practice of rewarding desirable employee behavior in order to strengthen that behavior. It has many advantages as a communication tool such as clearly defining and communicating expectations. It reinforces an employee’s behavior immediately after completing a task.

As we mentioned above, lack of reinforcement leads to job dissatisfaction, and can decrease productivity. Employees that are rewarded in this way increase self-confidence and become eager to learn new techniques, take advanced training, and accept more responsibility.

Constructive criticism is equally important to address potential problems or shortcomings that need to be improved. Be specific and concrete when engaging in this manner. If an employee is going to understand what you have to say or how he or she is to improve, it needs to be a dialogue.

The employee should be able to explain his or her side of the story and ask questions on how to improve. It’s critical that you are prepared with concrete examples. Framing can make all the difference. For example, saying “adding more graphics to your slides would help keep people’s attention” instead of “your slides are boring” will help your employee make positive adjustments rather than feel bad about their work.

Finding Compassion and Objectivity

When things go wrong, it is important to be composed, regardless of the error. Although anger may be cathartic and easy to access, it will only erode trust and confidence from your employees. When an error or mistake occurs, it takes emotional intelligence to take a step back and listen to your employees. That error might be out of your control, but you can control how you respond.

Listening can help your team grow and your employees will feel like their opinions are valid, which can work toward solving the problem at hand. A business needs to constantly grow, and employees see patience as a sign that their leaders are compassionate, open minded, and capable of properly managing adverse circumstances.

Curbing Turnover

The biggest concern for many employers is that, even after filling the role, a new hire might not be exactly what was expected. Maybe they lack urgency, productivity, or don’t seem to be picking up the role fast enough.

Regardless of the reason, it’s easy to get frustrated during this time of transition, but we have some tips on how to best handle a situation like this and what steps you can take in order to prevent good hires from going elsewhere.

The first rule to reduce turnover is to hire the right people. The second rule is to fire the people who don’t fit. But maybe you’re in a position even in today’s job market—with unemployment at a 50-year low—that you have to take what you can get. As bleak as that statement may sound, there are plenty of steps you as an employer can take to increase employee buy-in and incentivize their performance. In the end, when you take care of your workers, they will take care of you and your business.

Make the Most of Your Team

Regardless of whether you have a workplace of five, ten, or a hundred employees, the social aspect of work can go a long way. We’re not saying to turn your workplace into the spot everyone goes to hangout—it is called work after all. We’re saying that encouraging pro-social behavior may increase productivity and engagement.

When employees are given the chance to interact through generosity or gratitude, they will be healthier, happier, and less likely to leave. Encourage them to be on the lookout for good behavior. By delegating this type of responsibility, you are creating a sense of ownership in the organization.

Offer Flexibility

If you recall our last article outlining what to expect from the newest generation of workers, you’ll understand that today’s employees crave a work-life balance.

Statistics show that, after salary, 37% of Millennials say work-life balance is the most important thing to them in a job. The takeaway here is to offer flexibility around taking time off, start or end times, or even work locations, if applicable. This type of shift has positive effects on retention.

Reward Engagement

When you notice an employee taking pride in their job, or going above and beyond, use that as an opportunity to start a conversation. This type of behavior is indicative of a higher level of buy-in. You can also consider using an engagement survey to find out where your current employees stand.

Nurture Growth

With today’s group of employees, if there isn’t a clear path for growth and upward mobility, chances are that turnover is higher than average. Although unemployment is at a 50-year low, wages have remained stagnant. Employees are finding a way around this stagnation by jumping jobs around every four years to find a wage boost.

Having conversations about where a certain position can lead can make all the difference. If you aren’t willing to invest in your employees in the long term, you can’t expect investment from them.

Vision Equals Happiness

Another key factor in courting and retaining employees is to communicate a sense of purpose. Being able to identify meaning in their day-to-day tasks can have a huge boost in employees’ engagement and happiness. Offer them a strong vision of what the company does, why they do it, and what their goals mean in the grand scheme of things. This will increase their sense of belonging and loyalty to the organization.

Looking Ahead

Whatever strategies you decide to pursue, the bottom line is that without your employees, your business will suffer. Taking care of them in the short term, nurturing their interests, and keeping a keen eye on their development shows that you care about the future and their longevity within the company. And, most importantly, when you care, your employees will too.

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