Retention starts with recruiting and setting expectations. 

Make sure that every candidate understands what they’re getting into and then add any weaknesses you uncovered in the interview to detailed development plans for that employee. 

Next, when you go through your onboarding process, include some of those missing components within the process to help develop those candidates. 

 Now your new employee, whom you hired knowing that they lacked a certain background, skills and/or experiences, will know that you’ve put these issues into their development plan. 

Incorporate employee development plans into onboarding processes 

When you go through your onboarding, include a development strategy to help develop each new hire. 

For example, let’s say that when you hired someone as a manager that they lacked certain background, skills and/or experiences; incorporating this within their development plan is key. 

Make sure that you’re routinely working on the development of each and every person. I know, everyone gets busy and sometimes these things are forgotten or we put them on the back burner. But if you want to improve retention, those “one on ones” and showing your teams that you care is really critical.   

Do this when training employees 

Probably one of the best things I’ve learned about doing “one on ones” with my team is that when you’re giving someone training, or you’re creating that development plan, the words that you have to say, are “this is for your development plan.”  

As a manager, have you ever created a development plan for an employee, held lots of one-on-ones throughout the year only to have that employee say at their end of the year survey, “oh, my manager didn’t talk to me about my career development”? 

The way to avoid this is just say the words: “this is for your career development.” 

Every time you work with them to improve their skills, if you remember to do this they’ll say, “oh yeah, my manager always talks to me about my career development.” 

So that’s a little “Jedi mind trick”, but it actually makes a big difference because sometimes people don’t know…they just see it as part of the daily work that you’re doing.  

Top employee development techniques 

A survey taken by the American Management Association (AMA) found the following techniques worked best for employee retention.: 

Percentage of respondents used the following employee development strategies.:  

Employability training  35.2 
Technical training  54.5 
Interpersonal skills  56.8 
Degree support  62.2 
Managerial training  66.8 
Tuition reimbursement  67.3 
External seminars/conferences  78.1 


Think about the WIIFM 

 Next, tune into something I call WIIFM… “what’s in it for me?” 

Make sure that you’re always looking to see “what is in it for my employee” to make them better, and to help retain them. You also want to help them refer people to your company who have similar backgrounds that they have. 

You will know if they love the company because they’re going to refer their friends and family to your organization.   

Here are three specific ways employee development plans can help with retention.: 

1.  If you show genuine interest in an employee’s future, they will be more likely to stay 

Having a manager who cares about their development will boost your employees’ self-confidence. Providing employee development shows your employees you are confident in their abilities. This will motivate them to work harder. It creates value for the employee and a sense of belonging.   

2.  Improve performance and satisfaction through job-specific skills 

Continuous employee development is crucial. Otherwise, day-to-day activities become monotonous.  

Seventy percent of employees do service- or knowledge-related work. Providing skill development to your employees will increase their skill development and credibility.  

They’ll be more satisfied, and employees who love their jobs will not want to leave. 

3.  Training increases employee loyalty, which increases productivity 

By offering employee development programs, you can expect an increase in productivity.  


Because employees will be eager to contribute their gained skills and knowledge back to the company.  

If you haven’t already created one, develop a training plan to show your employees their value and help them grow. If you have existing programs, dust them off and start implementing them.  

Get your employees’ feedback to help you make any changes that will benefit them and your company. 

Bottom line, companies that invest properly in their employees will retain their hires and reduce their costs.