Does training really decrease turnover?

Rachael Nemeth
Co-founder, CEO
September 6, 2022

Employee turnover is a problem for most businesses with frontline employees. It is costly and exhausting to constantly hire new employees and train them on the job. Employee turnover costs can equal up to one-third of the employee’s annual salary [1].  Without the right employee training, things can get even worse for businesses. Because when employees leave, it’s often due to inadequate training. But why does this happen? Why do so many employees leave because of inadequate employee training? Read on to find out more about employee training and how it decreases turnover.

What Does Employee Training Include?

Employee training is an investment in your company’s future. It’s a way of helping your employees meet their full potential while benefiting the organization as a whole. For this reason, training should be provided to all employees — regardless of their role. This includes: 

  • Training for new hires: New employees should get a general overview of the company and their role. This is also called "orientation". They should get their feet wet and feel like they’re a part of something bigger.  
  • Training for core competencies: This is also called "role-based" training. Every employee should understand the skills and expertise needed for their role. It should include a shoulder-to-shoulder component where employees shadow an in-house expert who is already competent in the subject. 
  • Training for soft skills: Emotional intelligence is just as important as hard skills. Excellent communication and collaboration are essential for employees to serve customers effectively and communicate with colleagues. 

Why is employee training so important?

Training helps employees feel confident in their abilities, understand their role, and learn the ins and outs of their job. When employees feel prepared and confident, they’re more likely to stay with the company — especially during challenging times. When employees feel prepared, they’re more likely to meet their full potential and communicate their needs before they are tempted to leave. This can benefit the organization as a whole by increasing productivity, improving communication, and increasing retention.

Look at those happy, trained employees

3 ways effective employee training decreases turnover

When employees feel prepared and confident, they’re more likely to stay at the organization. Employee training can help employees meet their full potential and feel more prepared for challenges. This can help employees stay with the company, even during challenging times. Employee training can reduce employee turnover by educating teams on how to improve communication [2]. This can make employees feel more connected to their co-workers and the organization as a whole. When employees feel like they’re a part of something bigger, they’re more likely to stay. Employee training can help reduce employee turnover by improving productivity. When employees feel prepared for challenges, they’re more likely to complete tasks efficiently and effectively. This can help your business run more smoothly and profitably.

2 reasons why employee training doesn’t decrease turnover

Some employees are uninterested in their jobs. A report from Cengage Group found that 83% of workers who resigned last year reported feeling stagnant in their role [3]. They see their work as a means to an end, but don’t have a vested interest in the organization overall. For these employees, training won’t make a difference. When employees aren’t given the right training, they might feel more discouraged than empowered. This can cause them to feel unconnected to their workplace and less likely to stay.

What about millennials?

Bloomberg reports that millennials are far more likely to quit their job than Gen X or Gen Z (source). The generational differences between management and frontline employees who are younger may be to blame. The most common reason being a feeling lack of appreciation. In close second was a desire for more flexibility in scheduling and more opportunities for career growth.

Cara Silletto (yes, a millennial), gave a great TEDTalk a new point of view on how to keep them millennials happy at work, and provides strategies for reducing avoidable employee turnover in this 18 minute talk.

4 ways to make employee training more effective

When it comes to employee training, it’s important to keep the following in mind: 

  • Start early. Companies often wait until new employees start working to provide training. But when do they have the time to do so? Instead, consider providing training before employees even join the organization. This can help prospective employees understand if they’re a good fit for the job. 
  • Make training a priority. Lots of companies prioritize new product launches, sales goals, and marketing campaigns. But when does employee training fall on the priority list? If it doesn’t come naturally, make sure to prioritize training for your employees. 
  • Be flexible. Companies often develop one-size-fits-all training programs. But what works for one employee might not work for another. Make sure to offer training that’s flexible enough to fit the needs of each employee. 
  •  Keep it short. You want employees to be empowered, not overwhelmed. Make sure each training session has a great takeaway that’s applicable to the workplace. When training feels concise, it’s more likely to have an impact on productivity. 

The hot take

Employee training can help employees feel prepared for challenges and meet their full potential. It can also help decrease employee turnover by improving communication, productivity, and confidence. However, when training is inadequate, employees may feel unprepared for challenges and less confident in their abilities. They may also feel disconnected from their workplace and less likely to stay with the company. When it comes to employee training, there’s no such thing as too much. The more prepared your employees feel, the more likely they are to stay at your business.