The key to employee retention is using core fundamental strategies over and over and over again. Those fundamental strategies all require skills that can be taught and then must be applied. The knowledge and skills that come from training and development are crucial to these eight secrets to employee retention:

Hire for fit and talent, not just skills.

A person’s ability to fit into the culture of the organization is crucial to success on the job. When hiring, look to see if people fit the culture and if they have the talent to learn. The process of interviewing is a learned skill, but very few interviewers ever go through any formal interview training. This is a huge mistake. If you don’t know how to interview, how can you properly assess fit and talent?

Give your employees C.R.A.P.

People want caring, respect, appreciation and praise (C.R.A.P.) from their organization. All too often, managers don’t know how to show they care and that they respect their people or how to give appreciation and properly praise people. (Yes, there is a correct way to praise). Training leaders on these skills is crucial. Most managers want to give their people C.R.A.P but have not been taught how to. If they are equipped to give their people C.R.A.P., they will!


In most organizations, compensation is tied to performance, and immediate supervisors often play a critical role in any performance management process. They need to be knowledgeable about their role in the process and understand how to give proper feedback. Without this knowledge, even the best systems will break down. Training on how to conduct regular check-ins and performance reviews is critical in ensuring the performance management system works the way it should. When handled properly, money does not become an issue that prompts people to leave an organization.

Deal with your slugs.

Too many organizations force their good people to “carry” the slugs and pick up the slack. There is nothing more frustrating than carrying the load of someone who is not performing. When people are angry, they start to look for another job. Discipline is a learned skill, and formal training is crucial to leaders who discipline employees. When discipline is conducted in a positive manner, it changes behavior, gets people moving in the right direction and avoids creating turnover.


Keep people informed about what is going on in the organization. Employees want to know how things are going. If they don’t know, the grapevine takes over, and people speculate and become afraid. The unknown breeds frustration and fear, and fear can destroy an organization. When people are afraid, they often look for a safe haven, which means they start looking for another job, where they believe they will have more security.

Help people grow.

Growth is one of our most important values, especially for the millennial generation. Most people, particularly young people, are looking to progress and grow in their career. If you’re able to help them do that, they will stick around. Once they stop growing, most people become bored and leave or, worse yet, become disengaged. Ongoing employee development regardless of age and length of service is critical in keeping their jobs from becoming stale. Helping your people grow is the area where training can have the biggest impact on employee retention. Having a well-structured development plan for everyone in the organization can truly make a difference.

Be visible.

Leaders need to get out of their offices. As you are out wandering around the plant or office, you can talk to employees and hear their concerns and issues. Once they learn the skill of management by walking, each manager tailors it to their style. The key is that it must be taught. Rarely will a person come by it naturally.

Quality of supervisors and mid-level leaders

Often, leaders have the desire to succeed but have never been trained on basic leadership skills. Much of leadership is about learning and then applying skills. If an organization does not have consistent, ongoing leadership training, it will struggle with employee retention, because supervisors and mid-level leaders are the drivers of employee retention. Without trained leaders, you will never optimize your employee retention.

If great employee retention is your goal, it is imperative that training and development play a key role in the process. It is not a silver bullet or an easy fix. Each of the fundamentals requires discipline and systematic implementation. But, without training, all the discipline and systems in the world will not get the job done. There is no substitute for knowledge. Effective employee retention starts with training and development!