Training, the Double-edged Sword

Susan Hall

When I interviewed Vincent Milich, director of the IT Effectiveness Practice at Hay Group, back in March, he told me that IT pros are especially concerned about having a career path, even if they don't want to go into management. And the biggest mistake that companies make is failing to make this path clear to tech staff.


Another big mistake companies make, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, is sending folks off for training, but then failing to provide more career opportunities for them. A Strategy+Business headline says it all: "One Way to Lose Employees: Train Them." Surely training them is better than not training them, but as the old song goes, "How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?"


Workers of all ages place a high value on career development, but in a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey Millennials ranked training and development three times higher than cash bonuses as their first choice in benefits. But the research found that workers who have undergone training, but then don't see opportunities for advancement, are more likely to leave.


At the same time, the researchers say it doesn't have to be all about raises and promotions. According to the article:

Supervisors can open the door to longer-range opportunities for career growth, for example, by affording employees greater autonomy and more involvement in decision making, the researchers note. The important thing is to point out a path for advancement and to do it in a way that instills confidence and loyalty. "Career opportunities are perceptual in nature, so raising [perceptions] ... may be largely a matter of letting employees know more about the range of possibilities that are already available within the organization," the researchers write.

It says that sending workers to seminars and workshops is a way to show that the company values them and that career mentoring - a big crave among Millennials - and healthy relationships with the boss can help build loyalty. Job rotations also help workers have a bright view of their future with the company.

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