How Much is Developing Your Employees Worth?

I remember years ago when the cost of employee turnover was calculated to be 150% of an employee’s annual salary. That amount included any internal recruitment costs, external search fees, and hiring and on-boarding expenses as well as the simple loss in productivity associated with losing and then replacing a talented worker. While that may have been more accurate for higher-level leaders and professional staff, recent research still suggests that the average cost of replacing an employee who earns less than $50,000 per year, or more than 40% of the workers in America, amounts to 20% of the person’s annual salary.

How Much is Developing Your Employees Worth?

So you tell me. Is it worth up to $10,000 per year for you to develop and retain your talented workers? What about $300,000 for your most senior executives?

Sure, there are other reasons why an employee might quit his or her job with you and accept a position elsewhere. Surprisingly, not as many leave for a pay increase as you might think. Most leave because they don’t experience a good fit with their direct supervisors or they don’t feel challenged.

I would offer that if you intentionally develop your employees you are more likely to create a positive work environment and establish a strong bond with them. They are also far more likely to feel challenged as you groom them for new and different opportunities.

Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting you invest $10,000 per year let alone $300,000 to develop any one employee. Instead, I am inviting you to consider what it’s worth to retain your star performers. You can absolutely show your appreciation for and demonstrate your commitment to your employees by providing them targeted training. In addition to retaining a good number of employees in the process, you may even be able to offset certain salary increases as you do!

Most employees – at least the ones you’d want to retain – want to be better employees and want to  become subject matter experts in something. They also want opportunities for growth, not necessarily promotion, so now may be the time for you to focus on employee development in your organization.

Start by determining what skills are most needed across your organization and identify how your employees can develop these skills. Then engage in coaching conversations with your most valued team members to establish individual development plans. Work with your employees to agree on their development objectives together and determine how they will go about achieving those goals.

Online webinars and local seminars are inexpensive ways to obtain training for your staff. Mentoring and job shadowing are even less costly approaches and often prove far more effective than paying for outside learning solutions if you have internal experts who can – and want to – play a part in developing their peers and fellow co-workers.

Losing top-notch team members because they don’t see a future for themselves at your company is tragic, especially when it takes so little to show them another way. So whatever you do, do something! Investing the time to develop your employees now can provide significant financial rewards for your organization in the future.

Posted in Coaching, Employee Development, Employee Retention, Learning, Mentoring, Organization Development, Professional Development, Training, Turnover
One comment on “How Much is Developing Your Employees Worth?
  1. I agree that investing in employees, if done wisely, as you suggest, will pay rich dividends, sometimes for the duration of the employees’ tenure and well beyond. The challenge is helping the employer see training and development as an investment rather than a cost that cannot be recouped.

    I believe that the most effective approaches result in employees being eager to commit their best in the employer’s service. This is both an employee and leadership development challenge. That is, if leadership is unable or unwilling to do those things that are likely to inspire employees to commit their best, then the training will deliver far less impressive dividends to the employer.

    I believe that most employees want to commit their best. However, the employer can’t demand it but must encourage and permit it. This means that the focus must be on removing organizational barriers to that commitment. Of course, this will necessarily involve the employee in the discussion about what it will take to “earn” his/her commitment, and that will likely involve some focused training and/or development experience.

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