Have you heard this one lately? “I’ve taken a position with another company. Here’s my letter of resignation—effective today.” If you haven’t heard it yet, you might—and soon. Unfortunately, retaining your training staff is getting more and more difficult as the IT profession grows increasingly larger. Good trainers can get a job that offers more money and educational benefits with a snap of their fingers. It’s no surprise, then, that when I’ve read the forums on other training Web sites, I’ve seen one question asked over and over again: ”How do I develop a retention program for my training staff?” Here are some possible answers to the retention dilemma.
How do you retain your training staff? We want to find out what other companies and training managers are doing to keep the best of the best on staff. Post your comments at the end of this article or send us a note .
Many companies keep employees on staff by designing a contract that employees must sign before the company pays for any formal training. Several types of contracts were mentioned in the training forums that I browsed, including:

  • Two-year contract: The employer guarantees payment for education in exchange for a two-year job commitment to the company. In the event that you leave the company before completing the two years, you are legally required to repay the company for all expenses incurred.
  • Tuition Reimbursement: After six months of employment with a company, any employee is eligible for tuition reimbursement. The employer will pay for five hours of study per semester as long as the employee receives a B or higher in the class.

Salary increase
Some companies promise employees a bump in salary upon completion of a degree or certification as a way to retain the employees’ loyalty. One entry in a training forum described a situation in which a trainer, who has been in the IT training and development field for eight years, completed her B.S. in instructional design and received a $5,000 raise. She then began pursuing her MCSE certification. She still has two exams left to take before she will receive another raise of equal or greater value to her first one. One caveat to this employee’s situation is that her company isn’t paying for her classes.

Sharing corporate revenues and/or stock options
It’s also a common practice for companies to use bonuses based on profits and stock options as a form of retention. The top performers receive either stock options or a bonus check at the end of the year, based on the company’s profits. This could mean a lot of money or it could be small change, depending on how well the company is doing.

Regardless of which method you choose, you must have a retention strategy in place at all times. You might consider sitting down with each of your trainers to discuss their needs, why they like or dislike their jobs, what makes them happy, and what would make them stay.

Share your retention strategies with us by sending us a note .