A question that comes up time and time again when deciding to spend valuable resources on developing a team is “what if I train them and they leave?” It’s a reasonable question – training takes time to organise and to implement, time taken away from the day to day running of a business, time that could be used to hit next month’s KPIs. Then there are the monetary costs to consider. Thoughts of “why take the financial hit if they’re just going to take their newly acquired knowledge and skills elsewhere?”

When addressing this question, it is important to understand that successful business relationships are built like any other successful relationship in life. If you keep score and only give based on what you get in return, how long do you think your relationships will last? It’s like saying I’m only going to provide a good life for my children as long as they never leave home or aspire to be anything more than who they are now.

The quaint idea that simply handing over a pay cheque at the end of the month will inspire loyalty can be a short-sighted and costly mistake. Loyalty comes from reciprocity, from feeling valued and recognised as an individual. Are you going to place the risk of losing one or two employees above the potential long-lasting and far-reaching rewards your team and organisation could benefit from?

When it comes down to it, the real question to ask is not, “what if I train them and they leave”, but “what if I don’t and they stay?” An uninspired and unengaged workforce do not give rise to a ‘dream team’. There is no amount of crossed fingers or wand waving that will conjure up a thriving work culture. Team development may not be the be all and end all of creating a highly motivated, inspired and loyal workforce, but it’s a pretty good start – And who knows? Those ‘children’ may just grow up to be the ones looking after you in your old age. Treat them well.

 Jane Hands

Senior Facilitator & Quality Coach at Fuel Learning