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Retention and training go hand-in-hand

Retention and training go hand-in-hand

Data tells us that there is a worldwide turnover rate of about 10.9 percent. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics' 2018 report, the national turnover rate for the average U.S. company hovers right around 44.3 percent. Rates definitely vary by industry, with retail seeing turnover around 60 percent, hospitality climbs to more around 76.7 percent and entertainment is closer to 87.4 percent. Then, there is the security industry. The national annualturnover rate ofan average securityfirm exceeds 100 percent and can even trend as high as 400 percent for smaller, startup firms. While turnover isn't unique to any industry, the security industry typically experiences chronically high turnover.

Although some turnover may be beneficial by way of revitalizing or fine tuning the workforce, most turnover brings unexpected interruption to ongoing projects and costly recruiting cycles. In any case, it is imperative that organizations prepare for turnover. Excessive employee turnover is expensive for employers in several ways. Employers paid more than $600 billionin turnovercostsin 2018and can expect that number to increase to $680 billion this year. The costs of employee turnover are measured in both financial and operational terms. Financial estimates vary, but reports of turnover costs range from 25 to 200 percent of the employee's annual salary. Turnover costs encompass recruiting, interviewing, background checks, hiring, new employee processing and training.

There is also the loss of employee productivity to consider, as a newly-hired person is not as knowledgeable and, therefore, cannot be as productive as a more experienced counterpart. Since the costs associated with turnover are extremely high, it's incumbent upon leaders within security organizations to understand the strategies to counter it.

Ways physical security can gain better retention

Work Institute estimates that 42 million, or oneinfour, employees left their jobsin 2018. Nearly 77 percent, or three-fourths, ofthatturnovercould have been prevented by employers. Retention is impacted by numerous key factors including work environment, sense of autonomy in a role, positive work culture, flexibilityand where the employee sees their future within the organization. But none of these is as important as training. The training given to an employee matters more than compensation, advancement opportunities or benefits offered. Fifteen years ago, this was not the case. At that time, compensation was the key factor. Today, it barely makes the list.

The security industry must compete for skilled, technical expertise. We have all seen the shortage of qualified professionals, but offering a diverse training strategy for employees is a huge plus and can be used to motivate and inspire from within the company. It is important to offer employees the opportunity to study relevant courses and gain professional designations and certifications on the clock and at company expense.

The simple truth is that the vast majority of employees want to do a good job and enjoy what they do for living. The problem many of these employees have, and often the reason behind their departure, is that they aren't given the tools or resources they need to be successful. That's whereemployee development and training programscome into play. Offering professional development not only keeps skills sharpened it is also the best way to enhance organizational success and profitability.

Unfortunately, training and professional development programs are often considered unneeded and redundant. Because of this, they are often the first thing to be cut when a company is looking to lower costs. While this may result in near-term wins, the long-term effects of cutting employee training programs will, in fact, result inincreased costs,as frustrated employees leave to pursue other opportunities.

Why training really matters

After you'vemade a hire, it's time to make a firm investment in his or her career by providinggrowth and learning opportunities. According to LinkedIn's2018 Workforce Learning Report, a whopping 93 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Development is no longer an optional perk or reserved for only certain positions. It'sexpectedby today's talent.

Why does training even matter? Here's why:

  • Increase your “in-house” expertise. By investing in the training and development of your current workforce, you avoid having to go out and hire additional employees to fill the “skills gap.” Encouraging (and paying for) an employee to learn a new skill will allow your company to broaden its level of expertise, which translates into added value you can offer customers.
  • Grooming tomorrow's leaders today. The best business leaders are not only concerned about making sure their company is successful today, but also about laying the groundwork to ensure their company is successful many years from now. A key part of that forward-thinking strategy is to begin training your current star employees to move into management in a few years' time.
  • Challenged employees are engaged employees - and engaged employees stay. The belief that businesses shouldn't invest in training their employees because they'll just take their newly learned skills to a new company couldn't be further from the truth. Employees who are offered opportunities to grow and develop as professionals report higher levels of satisfaction, and are more likely to stay with their current employer.

The top reason employees feel held back from learning is that they don'thavethe time to learn. The solution? Offer learning opportunities in small, bite-sized time increments that can be manageably woven into a workday. Provide training in digestible chunks that take into account busy lives and shorter attention spans. One of the hottest trends right now is “microlearning” opportunities where online training modules that are 10-15 minutes in length are offered.

Training opportunities do not have to be expensive, planned or formal. Not at all. Although these more “traditional” training events are still somewhat common, there are many other methods. On-the-job learning, online training, mobile learning and others offer a variety of ways to train your teams. If you get creative in how you develop your employees - they just might stick around for a while.

Creating a learning culture

The National Federation of Independent Businesses identifies three human resource tasks that together foster a learning culture environment and aid in staff retention. Because a business owner is responsible for creating the vision that moves a company forward, every business owner should “own” these tasks, even if the business assigns training as a responsibility of the human resource department. Every organization should start by conducting a training needs assessment or “gaps analysis.” This should be ongoing and detailed. Look for gaps between current and future skill sets. Set the expectation that ongoing training is both needed and encouraged, then identify specifics of employee development programs and opportunities for training.

The effects of turnover are not only felt on the bottom line, but operationally as well. High turnover is inherently dangerous in an industry charged with security and safety, and clearly, when employees don't stay long enough to become proficient at the job, overall performance suffers. To control turnover is to positively affect the bottom line.

High employee retention equates to greater customer satisfaction, contented employees and, in the security industry, safer and more secure environments.

Wrap it all up

Strong training and development programs become the competitive differentiator in the war for talent as powerful recruitment tools. Retaining talent, especially Millennial talent, is more difficult than ever and more expensive as well. The cost of replacing an employee is equal to six to nine months of that employee's salary.

Today's employees want more than just showing up and collecting a paycheck. They need to feel valued and challenged to grow.Employees who see their current company as their career and not merely a job (and a paycheck) will be more likely to stick around. By offering robust training programs, a company can show employees that they are invested in them for the long haul.

Connie Moorhead is CEO of The CMOOR Group that provides training and compliance solutions for the security, fire and life safety industry. For 20 years, they have provided custom content development, the SUTRA Learning Management System and industry training through their learning portal, SecurityCEU.com. This portal offers over 190 hours of CEU-approved courses at the national and state level for license compliance. Also on offer is the award-winning compliance management system, Obsequio, which tracks, reports on, and automates the license and certification renewal processes.

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