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Keeping Your Employees After You Had Them Trained

You don’t want to see your investment walk out the door.

Keeping employees in this current employment market has become a real challenge for company owners, HR departments and department heads. Investing in someone who may just decide to not show up for work one day, or even after lunch (I’ve been the “victim” of such scenarios as a department head of another company) can be seen as a significant risk. Spending money on needed safety training for someone who may take your training investment with them to another company often makes that training less attractive. And, people don’t get trained and can pose a risk.

I would like to suggest an avenue to stifle that jump that I obligated myself to, and those employees I hired over the years: The employee commits to staying on board for a certain amount of time after being trained. Now, this wouldn’t apply to standard in-house training but it could for training a company invests in, such as OSHA General Industry or Construction training.

For example:

Your newly hired widget press operator has received your company HazCom training and general workplace safety training. After a certain period of employment all employees are required to have training offered by a safety training company. This costs more than a few bucks and you want to ensure your trained staff – your investment – stays with your company.

Since the operator needs to be trained, and OSHA forbids employers charging for training, you ask the new operator to stay with the company for a certain amount of time, say, a year, after each training you pay for. If he leaves before that time, he reimburses you for the training. That way, you get to recoup your investment, the employee gets valuable training and the company benefits by having more effective – and safe – employees.

Key aspects to this is that it must be addressed in the interview and must be a written company policy the employee agrees to – in writing – upon employment. You shouldn’t run into any employment law, and OSHA, issues as long as:

  • You are up front and honest

  • Don’t require a ridiculous amount of time commitment after training

  • The employees are made fully aware of the program and agree in writing

  • Their obligation is voluntary and is canceled if you let them go for cause

How do I know this works? It’s the plan I agreed to when offered an executive position with a former employer. It needed me to have (pricey) additional training and asked me to stay on for three years. I did, and stayed on for much longer. It worked – it works. Consider it.

Ed Maurer