Staff Training – How to motivate and retain your people

One key factor in employee motivation and retention is the opportunity employees want to continue to grow and develop job and career enhancing skills. In fact, this opportunity to continue to grow and develop through training and development is one of the most important factors in employee motivation.

There are a couple of tips about what employees want from training and development opportunities, and training and development opportunities are not just found in external training classes and seminars. They also articulate your opportunity to create devoted, growing employees who will benefit both your business and themselves through your training and development opportunities.

Job Content and Responsibilities

You can impact training and development significantly through the responsibilities in an employee’s current job.

  • Expand the job to include new, higher level responsibilities.
  • Reassign responsibilities that the employee does not like or that are routine.
  • Provide more authority for the employee to self-manage and make decisions.
  • Invite the employee to contribute to more important, department or company-wide decisions and planning.
  • Provide more access to important and desirable meetings.
  • Provide more information by including the employee on specific mailing lists, in company briefings, and in your confidence.
  • Provide more opportunity to establish goals, priorities, and measurements.
  • Assign reporting staff members to his or her leadership or supervision.
  • Assign the employee to head up projects or teams.
  • Enable the employee to spend more time with his or her boss.
  • Provide the opportunity for the employee to cross-train in other roles and responsibilities.

Internal Training and Development

Employees appreciate the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills without ever leaving work or the workplace. Internal training and development brings a special plus. Examples, terminology, and opportunities reflect the culture, environment, and needs of your workplace.

  • Enable the employee to attend an internally offered training session. This session can be offered by a coworker in an area of their expertise or by an outside presenter or trainer.
  • Ask the employee to train other employees with the information learned at a seminar or training session. Offer the time at a department meeting or lunch to discuss the information or present the information learned to others. (Make this an expectation when employees attend external training and conferences.)
  • Perform all of the activities listed before, during, and after a training session to ensure that the learning is transferred to the employee’s job.
  • Purchase business books for the employee. Sponsor an employee book club during which employees discuss a current book and apply its concepts to your company.
  • Offer commonly-needed training and information on an Intranet, an internal company website.
  • Provide training by either knowledgeable employees or an outside expert in a brown bag lunch format. Employees eat lunch and gain knowledge about a valuable topic. (Some ideas include: investing in a 401(k), how to vary and balance investments, tips for public speaking, how to get along with the boss, and updates on new products that make work easier. These opportunities are unlimited; survey employees to pinpoint interests.
  • The developers and other interested employees at a client company recently put on a day long conference with lunch and all of the trappings of an external conference at a local conference center. Attended by interested employees, the conference sessions were almost all taught by internal staff on topics of interest to their internal audience. Picture a “real” day long conference and you’ll see the opportunity. Employees were pumped up beyond belief; they learned and enjoyed the day and gained new respect for the knowledge and skills of their coworkers.

External Training and Development

Especially to develop new skills and ideas, employee attendance at external training is a must. Attaining degrees and university attendance enhance the knowledge and capabilities of your staff while broadening their experience with diverse people and ideas.

  • Enable the employee to attend an external seminar, conference, speaker, or training event.
  • Perform all of the activities listed before, during, and after a training session to ensure that the learning is transferred to the employee’s job.
  • Pay for the employee to take online classes and identify low or no cost online (and offline) training.
  • Pay for memberships in external professional associations with the understanding that employees will attend meetings, read the journals, and so forth and regularly update coworkers.
  • Provide a flexible schedule so the employee can take time to attend university, college, or other formal educational sessions.
  • Provide tuition assistance to encourage the employee’s pursuit of additional education.

Training and Development Tips

These are key factors in multiplying the value of the training and development you provide.

  • Allow employees to pursue training and development in directions they choose, not just in company-assigned and needed directions.
  • Have your company support learning, in general, and not just in support of knowledge needed for the employee’s current or next anticipated job. Recognize that the key factor is keeping the employee interested, attending, and engaged.

The development of a life-long engaged learner is a positive factor for your organisation no matter how long the employee chooses to stay in your employ. Use these training and development activities to ensure that you optimise the employee’s motivation and potential retention. The Welsh Assembly provides advice and guidance on staff development through its Workforce Development Programme, telephone 0845 60 661 60 for more information.


If you‘d like to know more about the different training available, give us a ring on 01239 712345 or email