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Convince employees to ‘Pay’ for part of their development

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Here’s an all-too-familiar scenario: Your organization invests considerable time and money training an employee with a lot of potential—and then the trainee takes that education to another company that offers a higher salary.

Ease the financial blow to your organization—and lower the likelihood that the employee will leave. Here are three things to try:

1. Find ways to get employees to invest in their own training and development. If you offer tuition reimbursement, pay for classes but require employees to attend them and do their schoolwork on their own time.

One-third of the employees at Philadelphia-based Harleysville Insurance take classes on the company’s dime. But they do it after hours. If they quit, the organization loses only the cost of the classes.

2. Have employees volunteer for career-development programs rather than assigning them. Give eager volunteers projects that they can complete in addition to their regular jobs—not instead. They’ll find a way to get it done.

Pittsburgh-based PNC offers director-level employees a chance to work on projects with executive VPs from functional areas different from theirs. The directors reap new skills at no cost to the company.

3. Offer new hires opportunities for intense training in exchange for lower-than-expected starting salaries. Law and accounting firms do this all the time.

Procter & Gamble tells entry-level recruits up front that they don’t pay as much as some competitors, but the new hires will get rotational assignments, training and coaching. Salaries ramp up as the young employees gain experience and on-the-job knowledge.

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