Listen, no one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job.  Organizationally, it makes sense that employees who don’t see any opportunities to advance or use their skills in the future are going to be less satisfied and turnover at a more frequent rate than those who do.  Those of you who manage in environments that have large spans-of-control know what I’m talking about.

What’s worse than not providing people a chance to move up?  Apparently, giving them skills that they aren’t going to be able to use.  See here for the journal write-up and here for the Wall St. Journal interpretation.  The authors report that those given training for skills they don’t think they would be able to use on the job are more likely to turnover than those who do think they will be able to use the training.

After getting past the concept of why organizations are providing training when people can’t use it (talk about a waste of money!), the bigger issue is why those companies are not doing a better job of explaining why the training is going to be relevant.  There’s a big payoff when it’s perceived to be, so why not be more explicit?  HR can show a lot more value when it does so, even if to say, “When we provide training to people and they know how it relates to their job, they stay longer.”

So much HR success relies on setting realistic expectations.  Conducting an employee engagement survey?  Don’t ask questions about things you are not going to change.  Want to help improve performance?  Have managers work with people in setting realistic performance goals.

For more information on employee engagement and talent management, please contact Warren at 310 670-4175 or