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The Best Employees Stay With Companies That Help Them to Get Better Professional development is the key to retaining top employees.

By Zeynep Ilgaz Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Jeff Sheldon | Unsplash

In 1927, GM established one of the first corporate universities called the General Motors Institute, and by the time the 1950s rolled around, many other companies followed the same path. Professional development has evolved over the years to become an integral part of recruiting and retaining talent.

Today, these types of programs have only become even more abundant.

According to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. organizations spent approximately $164 billion on employee learning and professional development during 2013, an average of $1,195 per employee.

Because organizations are routinely valued on both their physical and intellectual capital, it only makes sense that professional development has become such a big part of business.


A long-term investment in intellect.

Every company needs hardworking, talented employees who can bring something creative and different to the table. Likewise, employees want to be confident their contributions are important and that their employers are investing time and money into their skills and career progression.

High employee turnover increases expenses and decreases workplace morale and productivity. Businesses can't thrive if their top performers quit, but employees who see potential for growth and feel good about their work are motivated to stay with their companies for the long term.

Investing in a quality professional development program will help retain the positive, motivated and skilled staff vital to an organization's success.


Professional development's role in retention.

Companies committed to their growth strategies are exciting, but companies that believe in individual employee growth are even more exciting. Employees provided with the support to become their best selves are more inspired than ever to produce great work that advances them within your company. Everyone wins.

Professional development will help you retain your employees because:

  • It increases their skills. When prospective and current employees know there's the potential to raise their skill and compensation levels at your company, you're much more likely to draw in and retain top candidates.
  • It builds their confidence. Professional development builds employees' confidence by providing a stronger understanding of their job responsibilities and industry trends. When your workers know they're competent, they become assertive leaders and great assets to your company.
  • It makes them happy. Granting employees access to professional development programs shows them they're a valued part of your company. It also creates a positive and supportive workplace atmosphere. Both of these factors contribute greatly to your employees' overall happiness.
  • It shows that your company cares. While these training programs directly develop employees' work skills, they indirectly develop their personal lives by helping them qualify for promotions and, therefore, higher salaries.

When building a professional development program, include evaluation and feedback to make sure the ROI is what it should be. If your company goal is employee retention, be sure to also measure turnover fluctuations after implementing the program. I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results.

Providing employees with the opportunity to develop professionally is a great way to keep them satisfied and secure long-term success for all parties.


Zeynep Ilgaz

Entrepreneur, Co-Founder and President of Confirm Biosciences and TestCountry

Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Ilgaz and her husband immigrated to the United States with two suitcases and the drive to dive into entrepreneurship. They co-founded Confirm BioSciences and TestCountry in San Diego. Ilgaz serves as president of both. Confirm BioSciences offers service-oriented drug-testing technologies.

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