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ASTD to Release Study on Recruitment and Retention
Results Point to the Importance of Using Training and Education

Dallas, TX (May 22) – The revolution in today’s workplaces is heralding the rise of the knowledge worker, where brains, not brawn, are considered the competitive edge. Organizations realize that their people are one of the primary reasons for success. Training and development has risen to the top as one of the most important benefits organizations must offer to attract and retain talented employees.

To further investigate how companies are using training and development to attract and retain their employees, ASTD and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) developed a consortium benchmarking study to look at how organizations use employee growth and career initiatives to find and keep employees. Although ASTD and SHRM understand that many strategies are used in this process, the study was initiated to find out more about how employee growth and career development fit into this scheme. 

Seven companies, called Exemplary Practice Partners, were screened and chosen to participate in the study. The companies included Dow Chemical Company, Edward Jones, Great Plains , LensCrafters, Inc., Sears, Roebuck & Company, Southwest Airlines, and South African Breweries. In comparison with the ASTD Benchmarking Service database, in which training investment data is kept for over 2,500 organizations worldwide, these seven companies:

Trained more employees and gave training-eligible employees more hours of training

Spent less per employee, but more as a percentage of payroll on employee training

Delivered training more often using learning technologies and less via the classroom

Spent more on technology as a percentage of the training budget

Utilized more outside resources to provide training

Spent less on outside providers of training

Engaged, more often, in the use of compensation practices, work practices, training practices, and human performance management practices

Additionally, each of these seven companies experiences lower turnover rates and higher employee satisfaction than the average company in its industry. These seven companies believe that this is due in large part to the investments they make in their people, through fair and equitable HR policies and practices, and in their employee growth and career development initiatives.

The analysis of the site visits to each company and surveys uncovered these similarities:

  • Each company made employees responsible for their own development, while simultaneously providing them with generous support (and accountability) from managers, leaders, coaches, mentors, and teams.
  • These organizations support training from the very highest levels, realizing that building the knowledge capacity of their workers is a necessary strategy for business success.
  • Each company has a strong identity and culture, in which employees are understood to be one of the main reasons for the businesses’ success.
  • Organizational infrastructures have been put in place to support HR efforts to attract and retain employees. This was enabled by the use of technology.

    “Training and development are not the only options that keep employees loyal, but they are considered to be an integral part of why employees go to and stay at organizations,” said Stacey Wagner, director of the study and ASTD Benchmarking Forum Team Leader.

    The full report on the ASTD/SHRM Consortium Benchmarking Study, called “Recruiting and Retaining Employees: Using Training and Education in the War for Talent”, will be available on May 31. For a copy of the report, contact Jennifer Homer, ASTD Director of PR, at [email protected].