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Training and Talking Keys for Retention and Engagement

Originally posted by Stephen Bruce, PhD, PHR on http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com

In a previous article we featured consultant Ron Katz’s “5 T’s of Retention”; today, the final two T’s, plus an introduction to the all-things-HR-in-one-place website, HR.BLR.com®.

 [go here for the first three T’s]


Training is a reward. Top people want to keep their skills up and you need them to believe that the organization cares about keeping employee skills up to date.

Development is both a management responsibility and an employee reward.

What If We Train and They Leave?

Some managers don’t want to train, saying, what if we put all that effort and money into training and then they leave? Turn it around, says Katz. What if we don’t train them and they stay?
You are dumbing down the organization, says Katz.

Of course, there is some cost to bringing experts into the organization or sending people out for training. But there are options that have no cost:

  • On-the-job training
  • Shadowing
  • Training rotations
  • Half day a week in another department

And there’s a side benefit to internal training—people develop internal networks and  there is an improved understanding between groups and departments.

When you help people keep their skills up to date, you’re offering guaranteed employability. You can’t guarantee that they will always have a job with you, but they won’t feel that they have to leave your company to keep their skills up.


A manager’s time and attention is the greatest motivational tool. Managers have a limited amount of time, and they need to spend it with their most productive assets.

It’s often said that managers spend 80% of their time on the lower 20%. If you do that, you may be able to raise them from poor to mediocre; productivity will go up 5%. But if you invest that same (or often less) energy with your top people, you’ll see a 20% rise in their performance, which was way higher than the lower performers’ to begin with.

Build your manager’s credibility bank, says Katz. Use praise and constructive feedback.
Praise first—then your constructive criticism will be taken as genuine. People will forget the money, but they won’t forget the praise, says Katz.

Nothing is as powerful as a thank you.

Recognition and retention—important, but just one of the many challenges all HR pros face. In HR, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. Like FMLA intermittent leave, overtime hassles, ADA accommodation, and then on top of that, whatever the agencies and courts throw in your way.

You need a go-to resource, and our editors recommend the “everything-HR-in-one website,” HR.BLR.com®. As an example of what you will find, here are some policy recommendations concerning e-mail, excerpted from a sample policy on the website: – See more at: http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/2014/02/20/training-and-talking-keys-for-retention-and-engagement/#sthash.lVc2PuID.dpuf

Privacy. The director of information services can override any individual password and thus has access to all e-mail messages in order to ensure compliance with company policy. This means that employees do not have an expectation of privacy in their company e-mail or any other information stored or accessed on company computers.

E-mail review. All e-mail is subject to review by management. Your use of the e-mail system grants consent to the review of any of the messages to or from you in the system in printed form or in any other medium.

Solicitation. In line with our general policy, e-mail must not be used to solicit for outside business ventures, personal parties, social meetings, charities, membership in any organization, political causes, religious causes, or other matters not connected to the company’s business.

We should point out that this is just one of hundreds of sample policies on the site. (You’ll also find analyses of laws and issues, job descriptions, and complete training materials for hundreds of HR topics.)

You can examine the entire HR.BLR.com® program free of any cost or commitment. It’s quite remarkable—30 years of accumulated HR knowledge, tools, and skills gathered in one place and accessible at the click of a mouse.

What’s more, we’ll supply a free downloadable copy of our special report, Critical HR Recordkeeping—From Hiring to Termination, just for looking at HR.BLR.com. If you’d like to try it at absolutely no cost or obligation to continue (and get the special report, no matter what you decide), go here.