Improving Employee Retention and Employer Brand Through Learning Programs


When you want to improve your recruiting efforts, engaging in employer brand building activity (like featuring positive employee activity on Glassdoor) can help you make a great hire. Making a hire, however, isn’t the only solution to your talent problems. In today’s talent-driven landscape, recruiting extends beyond traditional means and more emphasis should be placed on improving employee retention and development.

High turnover in a position or an extended vacancy in a position comes with a variety of costs and, depending on the position, can strain customer relationships, delay production and generally mess your day up. If you can retain your company’s most critical employees and offer them the opportunity to develop their skills or learn new ones, you can avoid the costs of turnover and benefit from employees who are always learning new practices and technologies in your industry.

Here are the numbers behind the costs of on-boarding a new employee vs developing your existing talent, but what isn’t emphasized, is the impact of employee development on the recruiting process.

How Does Employee Development Improve your Recruiting Efforts?

According to CIO magazine, “furthering your employees’ education can help them feel valued, important and invested in the company.”

Ongoing education is crucial for retaining employees because it improves employee engagement. Employee engagement is a fairly common barometer for happiness, and in the US only about 33% of employees are engaged.

Think about that. Right now, as many as 66% of your employees could be feeling disengaged from their jobs. This is the worst case scenario, but this statistic indicates that many companies could benefit from prioritizing employee engagement through employee development. By providing greater development and training for your employees, you can reap the benefits of a highly engaged, highly skilled staff.

But, how does this correlate with recruiting?

Well, the more engaged your employees are and the more invested they are, the more likely they are to help you generate employee referrals.
The numbers behind the power of employee referrals are astounding. According to ERE media:

  • Referrals are the #1 source in hiring volume
  • Referrals are the #1 source for new hire quality
  • Referrals are the #1 fastest time to fill (29 days for referrals, 39 days for job boards, and 45 days for career sites)
  • Referrals are #1 at 46% retention after one year (compared to 33% from career sites and 22% from job boards)
  • 46% of all hires at top performing firms are referrals

I don’t know about you, but in all my years of working, I’ve never seen an unhappy employee refer candidates. But happy ones… Absolutely!

Ways to Train and Develop Employees

When training and developing employees, you get better results when you use tools that are engaging as well as developmental. I’ve seen several online courses that some organizations pass off as “training,” which only lead to sunk costs and wasted time. All because these courses weren’t engaging.

One of the coolest solutions I’ve had the pleasure of viewing is LearnBig. What LearnBig does is create custom, interactive learning courses that leverage embedded tools to create micro-interactions, letting users engage during the video course.

I know this sounds technical, but this is where the fun starts.

These interactions come in the form of questions, games, surveys, polls, basically anything you can think of. Craziest of all, the experience is completely customized and adapted based on an initial assessment and in-course user responses. If a user answers a question wrong, they are taken on a course that helps them hone in on those problem areas. This has helped users see increases in engagement and overall knowledge retention. You can see a preview and learn more about LearnBig here.

This is just one example of ways that top businesses are driving more successful training programs. Another popular example is creating a senior mentor program, assigning senior employees to guide junior employees to greater levels of competency. This has helped increase the engagement from both junior and senior employees. Studies prove that mentoring programs in the workplace lead to higher employee retention, satisfaction, succession planning, and productivity. While the benefits are obvious for the junior employee, there are also benefits for the senior. Training junior employees will keep senior employees engaged, help them to learn about the latest industry trends, and better understand the concerns of junior employees.

Employee Development and Your Employer Brand

We’ve touched on how your recruiting can benefit from better training and development, but what about your employer brand?

Statistically, employees that receive regular training are more likely to have a positive outlook regarding their company. By investing in the professional development of your employees, you are demonstrating that you value their skills and that you have a plan for their future.

When one of your employees decides to rate your company on Glassdoor they will be able to post about their positive outlook on your company and say whether they’d recommend your company to a friend. If you have been investing in employee training and development, then some of these employee testimonials will be praising your company for prioritizing the education and development of its employees. If you haven’t been providing these educational/developmental opportunities, these endorsements could be hard to come by.

The more positive reviews that employees leave, the better your company looks to prospective candidates. Some publications are arguing that employer brand is not as important as it’s being made out to be. Citing that candidates weigh location and compensation as the two most important factors in their employment decision. While location and compensation might be at the top of most people’s job requirements, training and development definitely make the list. Today’s highly skilled workers want to work for companies that prioritize their professional development.

By investing in training that will help your employees advance in their careers, your employees will be more invested in their work and your company. These happy, engaged employees will be happy to provide you with referrals and write positive reviews for your company online. By providing engaging, enriching training to your employees, it will strengthen your employer brand and help your ability to hire talented individuals in the future.


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