Regardless of the economic climate, hanging onto top talent is always a balancing act. Add in the Great Resignation (aka the Big Quit), and you have a recipe for extra high turnover rates. The good news is a whopping 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it did one thing: invest in helping them learn.
Talk about giving a little to get a lot. So if you want to keep your talent, you’ve got to grow your talent. The best part? You can easily grow your talent on a budget, depending on the types of opportunities you offer.
4 ways to grow your talent
Raises, health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and work-from-home opportunities tend to get the most attention when it comes to employee benefits. But at the end of the day, employees don’t want to be stagnant. A stagnant job gets pretty boring, even with desirable pay and benefits.
Cue growth and development opportunities. Investing in helping your employees learn has numerous benefits for your company and workers alike, such as:
- Higher retention.
- Increased engagement.
- Enhanced skill sets and knowledge.
- Better employee autonomy.
If you’re ready to grow your talent, here are four ways to get started.
1. Education assistance
Want your employees to gain new skills and knowledge? Consider an education assistance program, also called tuition reimbursement.
Educational assistance is a program where a business pays for part or all of an employee’s education expenses. You can give each employee up to $5,250 of tax-free education assistance per year to cover costs like tuition, fees, and books.
According to one survey, 80% of mid- and large-sized employers offer tuition reimbursement. And there’s a reason the majority of businesses do it. Employees who take advantage of tuition reimbursement are more likely to stay with the business—about 3.5 times more likely, according to Chipotle’s debt-free degree program.
Interested? Before you offer education assistance to your employees, create a policy that outlines:
- Annual limits.
- Which employees are eligible.
- Whether employees need to receive a certain grade for reimbursement.
- When employees receive the money (e.g., in advance, as a reimbursement, etc.).
Worried that employees will leave you after you invest in their education? You might consider creating a vesting schedule to secure your investment. That way, employees who leave before their tuition reimbursement fully vests owe back some or all of the education assistance.
2. Training opportunities
Sure, you may offer job training to new hires. But do you provide continuous training to employees? If not, you might want to incorporate training opportunities into your business’s plan.
Take a look at a few training programs you can incorporate in your business:
- Orientation training.
- Leadership training.
- Product/service training.
- Project management training.
- Soft skills training.
- Diversity training.
Generally, you can choose from in-person and online training programs. Although some are free, many require an investment.
Some training programs end with a certification. And if Google search history is any indication of what people want, consider that 2021’s top searches revolved around certification programs. If you want to further sweeten the deal, opt for training programs that can grow your employees’ collection of certificates.
Before getting started, hammer out the details and add them to your employee handbook. Ask questions like:
- How often should I offer continuous training programs to employees? Monthly? Semiannually?
- Should I make training mandatory or voluntary?
- If voluntary, should I request that employees go through them outside of work hours?
- Should I offer training programs in-person or online?
- Will I provide reimbursements to employees who find training programs on their own?
Training programs do more for your business than boost retention and employee engagement. Training also increases your employees’ knowledge, enhances their skillset, and stimulates creativity, which employees can use to help grow your business.
3. Leadership opportunities
A promotion to a management role isn’t always in the cards. After all, not all of your employees can be managers. But, that shouldn’t stop you from coming up with leadership opportunities your team can work toward.
So, what type of leadership opportunities can you offer your team members to encourage retention? Here are a few ideas:
- Project team leaders: Let different employees—not just managers—spearhead projects in your business.
- Committee leaders: Consider establishing committees in your business and assigning different employees to lead each.
- Promotions: Elevate hardworking employees to management or other leadership positions.
- Mentoring programs: When you hire a new employee, assign a current employee in the department to mentor and train them.
- Hiring committee: If you’re looking to hire someone new, involve one or more employees to lead the hiring process.
Nearly 70% of millennials feel a lack of leadership development. But, they don’t have to feel it in your business. Implement leadership development programs at all levels to decrease turnover, increase engagement, and see which employees shine in leadership positions.
4. Job rotation program
Another way to grow talent in your business is to develop a job rotation program. With job rotation, employees typically rotate laterally between positions for a certain period of time.
A job rotation program not only enhances employee learning and growth, but it can also:
- Eliminate boredom and boost engagement.
- Give employees a break from strenuous job duties (e.g., heavy lifting).
- Help you see where employees work best.
- Eliminate knowledge hoarding by cross-training employees.
- Make your workforce more agile and equipped for future changes.
Before you establish a job rotation program, first create a design that maps out which employees will rotate to which positions and for how long. The more planning you put into it, the less chance you have of wasting your and your employees’ time.
By Rachel Blakely-Gray