Savvy employers know it’s easier to retain good employees than to replace them. What is your company doing to keep your top performers?

According to a new Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey, training and professional  development should be at the top of the list. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of professionals polled said

the opportunity to gain new job skills is a critical consideration when making a job change. Another 34 percent said it is at least somewhat important.

Your team members should be able to visualize their potential to advance and take on increasing responsibility within your organization.

A company’s best and brightest may be more likely to leave if their firm doesn’t offer ample training and development opportunities to help them grow where they are.

Here are seven training and professional development ideas to help improve your retention rates and to attract new talent:

  1. Send employees to conferences. Industry conferences and meetings are crucial for professional development and training. Some top firms have a budget for each team member to attend an event of their choice each year. Attendees will come back with a refreshed attitude, up-to-date knowledge about the industry, new ideas and new contacts.
  2. Reimburse membership costs. Consider covering membership fees for your employees to join professional organizations that offer networking and learning opportunities. Another great idea is to reimburse personnel for subscriptions to relevant publications and reports, or subscribe for your team and

maintain a library of materials.

  1. Encourage certifications. Continuing education is absolutely essential in many industries, especially in the legal, tech, medical and financial fields. Identify opportunities for your employees, and allot a set amount of working hours for them to devote to their continuing education. Set goals for each employee’s

continuing education during annual reviews.

  1. Offer tuition matching. As much as many professionals would like to obtain advanced degrees or certifications, some can’t afford it. A tuition match to defray these expenses can help attract top performers who hope to earn an MBA or managers who would like executive training. It helps if your company can also allow flexible work options so employees can balance their work and school schedules.
  2. Create a leadership development program. You can identify future leaders, help your employees grow, and create stronger bonds within the company with an in-house leadership development program.

Think about what you want future managers to accomplish in the company, and identify and invite staffers or existing managers who could take on more responsibility. Make sure all your employees know the opportunity is there if they have the potential and the drive.

  1. Teach in-house. Monthly lunch and- learns are great ways to keep your employees learning with a small budget. And you don’t necessarily have to run the show yourself: Invite business leaders from outside your organization to present fresh insights and ideas to your team, and encourage colleagues returning from conferences to share what they’ve learned. Business book discussion groups are another informal way to keep employees engaged and learning new job skills.
  2. Create a mentorship program.

Facilitating mentorship opportunities within your organization builds loyalty and creates relationships that can last entire careers. One-on-one mentoring is perfect for enhancing soft skills like communication and problem-solving, as well as improving business knowledge. The benefits of these programs aren’t limited to mentees: mentors will hone their leadership skills and learn new ways of approaching tasks from their proteges.

Companies with robust professional development programs are better able to not only retain key employees but also attract potential new hires. With the right offerings, your company can stand

out in the competitive hiring market and keep people happy.


Dana Manciagli is a career expert, speaker and private coach.