Arrested Development. No, Not That One

How Bad Training Leads to an Increase in Turnover

John Whitaker

arrested development_adult-annoyed-bar

It’s a guilty pleasure. Arrested Development, the quirky/brilliant comedy that debuted in 2003, is a personal favorite. End to end, I’ve probably watched the entire series a dozen times or so….but, that’s not really why we’re here, is it?

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In my previous installment, “We’re All Millennials” I touch on a few key metrics that illustrate a different employee mindset. Specifically, these two:

  • Employee Turnover is increasing
    • Voluntary turnover accounts for 70% of all turnover
    • 50% of voluntary turnover occurs in Year 1
    • 40% of voluntary turnover occurs in the first six months
  • Employee Tenure is decreasing
    • In 2014, average tenure was 4.6 years
    • In 2019, average tenure is 3.2 years

So in a time of historically low unemployment, workers are leaving at a quicker pace & doing so at their own behest. But why?

Well sir, I’m glad you asked. One of the reasons tenure is decreasing is that the patience of employees is fading fast. The development of employees is a mess. Over half of all companies either have outdated or ineffective training programs (or none at all), and 72% believe career paths just aren’t applicable anymore. So, whether by accident or by purposeful direction, employers are perpetuating a situation that is, in fact, a losing proposition for both sides. Companies surrendered development and employees responded with an engagement level just above “meh.”

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Here’s the rub; Training (or L&D, et al) is seen more as a luxury than a necessity, an expense more than an investment. During the recession of the late ‘00’s amidst workforce reductions, a number of other changes were implemented in the name of cost savings. Within the HR suite, there are natural areas for outsourcing – Payroll, Benefits, Recruiting, and Training. You can ask career L&D professionals about job stability and most will have at least one occasion where they were part of a downsizing. It happens, and on to the next…but what happens internally when you lose the development arm of the organization? Well, a few things…including but not limited to:

  • Development opportunities are limited to external sources. That sacrifices any control over the message while also changing the stigma of development from “investment” to “expense.”
  • Managers have no template for creating development plans; professional development becomes more ad hoc.
  • Leaders are no longer being developed. What you get, you got – and unless said leader decides to seek their own development, the only teacher will be experience.
  • Succession Planning becomes a shadow of its former self. You have future leaders on deck, but have no institutionalized development planning, good luck with all that.

Oh, and perhaps most importantly – you just let go of one of your most impactful retention vehicles. And, sticking with the “we’re all Millennials” premise, you can multiply that importance exponentially for a workforce that will be composed of 50% Millennials by 2020. Personal & Professional Development is in the “must-have” category of any “What Do Millennials Want, Anyway?” discussion. Not only in a singular sense, but in a collaborative sense ~ when you have a North Star, and you align development accordingly, you have a shared purpose. When you have that, you have a stickiness that is tough to beat.

Next: “Recruiting = The Over-served”

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