The title of this article is probably a real head scratcher, but that all depends on how you look at it. Richard Branson, founder of the wildly successful Virgin Atlantic, made a famous quote in 2014 that says “Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Depending on where your head is as a decision maker in a company, that is probably the weirdest thing you have ever had to process. You’re probably thinking “In what world is it a good idea to do something to drive my employees out the door?” Honestly, if that is what comes to mind, then you’ve missed the mark completely. Don’t worry though as you’re not alone. The business world is one of continuous learning and it is time for you to do a bit more of your own.
Though employee treatment is the second part of the quote, it starts with the decision to invest into training.
Think of your ideal romantic relationship whether you already have it or not. Chances are you are imagining being loved to the point of feeling complete. If this is done right, you feel like you don’t need the person, yet you feel enhanced by simply being in his/her presence.
The same principle applies here. When a company invests in you, there are a couple potential reasons this can be done. If you get the impression that the company made the choice to help you become the best version of yourself, what happens then? Chances are your self confidence and perception of self-worth experience a big boost. You’re trained, possibly certified, and you are now qualified for big opportunities. At this point you can leave, and this is where fear creeps in for many business decision makers.
At the point where an employee becomes empowered with knowledge, is there anything to stop him/her from leaving and using the knowledge to reap fruits from greener pastures?
The answer is not very complicated; become greener pastures. Consider two fields of grass that look to be in different states of health. One is green and lush, while the other is brown and feeble. The green one is only more appealing one until the brown one also becomes green.
This is where the treatment aspect kicks into high gear. There’s no denying that money is a huge motivator to employees. However, you’d be mistaken if you think it is all that matters. While employees do complain and vent to each other when they feel they are underpaid, employees tend to discuss other problems and annoyances even more. Is management inconsiderate? Are necessary tools not being provided? Is there a pension system in place?
These are just a few average employee concerns and how they are addressed is important. Foster open discussions with employees, allow them to be a part of the changes they want to see, and allow them to feel important and secure.
This is the right way to stop employees from leaving as their desire is eliminated. An employee centric company always has an advantage in this regard. Avoiding employee training is akin to keeping your staff members chained so they stay. This builds resentment and a desire to jump at any attractive looking opportunity that may come. Empower employees and treat them well on the other hand, and they don’t feel a need to look at or consider other job offers because they don’t wish to compromise the optimal situation you have created.
Train your staff members and ensure they are heard, taken care of, and that their new abilities are challenged. Not only does this increase staff morale and prevent the feeling of a desire to leave, but it also results in a better ability for your workforce to perform their necessary tasks.