I admit that not every company goes out of its way to say that their employees are important and vital to their success, and for this discussion today I am only focusing on the ones that actually do say their employees are important and vital. These company executives talk a lot about what their employees do and how success hinges on every single employee.
After studying and comparing a lot of different companies and industries I have found a key indicator as to if what is being said is true. All employees present and future can use this litmus test to gauge if managers are walking their talk or just talking the talk.
Now you might think that it is all about compensation or the benefits package, and no these are not indicative of a value of employee retention. They are often strategies used to recruit and bribe people into staying with the organization. You may think it has to do with work environment, perks and parties, but again these are just niceties that last only a short time.
The real indication that employees are valuable to the organization, that the company sees their ability to retain people is whether or not they have a comprehensive learning strategy for all, and I mean all employees. Short bursts of training or an eLearning catalog don’t count for much. They are often window dressing and a façade for what they hope employees will believe is genuine development.
I work a lot with financial services and if I find an organization with a robust learning strategy, everything else is working well too. Turnover is minimal and when it comes to recruiting the applicants are lining up at the door. People stay longer than on average and that means customers do too.
Yet when I find an organization that either only does the required compliance training that the regulators require, or a quick down and dirty workshop ever so often, I make a note of what I have started to see as their pending demise. They will either land up selling themselves or going out of business altogether. I have yet to see a single company avoid employee development and stay afloat.
I am a passionate learner, and a trainer at heart. I know how many issues can be avoided with good learning environments, and I know too how proactive a good learning process can be to fix issues. The reason I wrote The Training Physical was to alert managers as to what training ought to be focused on at a minimum and to learn how to operate and manage better learning worlds.
So if I was to tell you that Bank A just announced it is buying Bank B and neither bank has a learning environment beyond the bare minimum, how do you think this merger will go? How will it affect the customer experience? What will it do to the employees from both banks? If you say that things are not apt to go well, I’d have to agree with you. Bank B wasn’t successful without training and had to sell out. Bank A will struggle to become successful unless they change their focus to what matters most.
So if you really want to know if your company values you and whether the company you are interviewing with will value you, take the time to see to what degree they will develop you as a person and as an employee. Ask the hard questions early and avoid heartache later.