Wanna Boost Employee Retention? Focus on Leadership Training and Certifications

A new report from PayScale found that most employees wanted either a strong focus on certifications or to be trained on skills related to leadership and management.

In a job market where competition is aggressive and a new position is always around the corner, employees want a skills upgrade.

And if your association is offering that to them, you could stand to benefit in terms of increased employee retention.

According to Professional Development: What Employees Want, a new report from PayScale, the nearly 38,000 workers surveyed by the compensation software firm were asking for two things: management and leadership training (32 percent) and professional certifications (30 percent). More specific skills, such as technical training (17 percent), teamwork/interpersonal skills (8 percent), public speaking (4 percent), and diversity and inclusion (2 percent) fell further down the list. And just 7 percent of respondents were looking for employers to subsidize a degree.

The report did find some generational gaps in the mix as well as some differences by field. For example, nearly a third of respondents in the art and design fields (32 percent) wanted technical training, compared with 19 percent in the energy and utilities industry. And older employees, who are more likely to already be in leadership roles, are less likely to desire training for them, according to the report.

“For the most part, management/leadership training was the most commonly selected option across the generations. A notable exception, however, are baby boomers,” the report stated. “While Gen Xers and millennials both most frequently selected management/leadership training, baby boomers do not.”

(That said, nearly 30 percent of boomers said they were interested in such skills.)

The report did have some notable data specific to the nonprofit field: Around 35 percent of nonprofit industry respondents said they were interested in professional development with the goal of receiving a raise, and more than 10 percent expressed an interest in an employer-subsidized degree—a level roughly matching that of the education field.

In a news release, PayScale Director Wendy Brown noted the results show that certain things are pretty common across the board as far as professional development goes, but the specifics still matter in how your organization manages professional development offerings.

“While there are some significant trends, our research shows professional development is really not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Brown stated. “Employers should take the time to truly understand which programs and training opportunities would be most important to help every employee progress in his or her career in a meaningful way.”

(Nattakorn Maneerat/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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