Training and Turnover


I have placed training and turnover together because when training is mentioned, there are concerns about turnover. Managers are concerned about training employees, and then having them leave. There is much hot debate about the virtues of training versus potential employee turnover. However there are some obvious solutions that are overlooked. First of all, without employee training in your organization, it will be likely that your employee turnover is high. This can cause significant cost to the organization beyond the cost of training. One reason for high turnover for organizations with little training is that the employee may not believe they are considered of value by the organization. Also concerns about obselescence would become great. This does not mean that the main reasons for turnover are lack of training. Reasons for turnover are listed later.

A Compromise Solution to Training/Turnover Issues

One obvious solution is to have the employee sign a contract that if they leave within a given period of time after the training, they will reimburse the company for the cost of the training. I would expect this time frame to be one to three years. If too long the employee will feel the company is unreasonable and resent it. They may even feel like a prisoner. Not only that, but the training becomes of less value after three years since the fast pace of technology may make it partially obsolete in that time period.

Selecting Those to Train

Another consideration is the managers may select those employees that they believe are more likely to stay for the bulk of training. The main frustration here is when training is provided directly by management or knowledgeable members of the team to other members. After being trained internally within the team structure, the employee may leave the organization. Obviously managers must size up this situation and make appropriate decisions.

The best organizations will train or re-train employees rather than replacing them. This shows that employees are valuable and are expected to stay.


Crosstraining is a very effective way to increase team knowledge and balance out the team. Ideally, in each area, there can be one person with primary knowledge and one with secondary knowledge in that area. This works the same as a mentoring system where one person learns from another. It also increases the chance that if something happened to one member of the team the knowledge is retained. Of course on small teams, several people may need to be a primary and/or secondary expert in several areas.

Part of the idea of crosstraining it to have each member of the team be a primary expert in some area. This increases the self worth of each individual team member and gives them some experience in leadership.


Reasons for Turnover

  • Difference between the organizational career plan for the employee and the plan the employee wants to pursue.
  • Money.
  • Position - Promoting from within can help this, but not always solve the problem.
  • Poor organizational communication.
  • No recognition.
  • Unequal treatment.
  • Being left out of the work group.
  • Insecurity about the stability of the job possibly due to organization financial trouble or other reasons.
  • Little or no training.
  • External or personal reasons beyond your control.

The management must determine what motivates specific individuals and accomodate those needs within limits of reason and fairness to all employees.

Some Guidelines

Think carefully before physically moving the organization. Moving the organization further than a local move can cause extremely high employee turnover. Guidelines to prevent turnover:

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