Cut Once, Measure Twice: HR Metrics for Training, Retention & Engagement

HR Metrics, Employee Productivity, Employee Engagement

Every manager wants to increase productivity and engagement, boost employee satisfaction, and reduce turnover. The answer can be as straightforward as putting employee training programs into place.

The advantages of institutionalized training programs are numerous, whether considering the short-term impact of giving employees greater confidence and abilities or the long-term impact of lowering attrition and raising employee happiness.

Aberdeen’s Workforce Management and Training report released in October 2012 highlights these benefits below:

  • With Change Management Buy In, organizations with formal training programs have increased senior executive buy-in and support (74% versus 46% respectively) creating an environment of support versus apprehension to change by influencing key internal stakeholders from the top down.
  • Employee Retention improves significantly with formalized training programs at a rate of 72% versus an informal training program of 59%.
  • Employee become more Engaged (41% engagement rate) when the training program is clearly mapped, planned and predictable

Increase Employee Retention with Hard & Soft Skills Training

Hard or soft skills training can have an impact on an employee’s knowledge and talents. While soft skills include professionalism, networking, and communication, hard skills are more concrete, quantifiable skills, such as those involving software or machines.

Both hard and soft skills training are advantageous, but hard skills training can also meet a hiring demand when a company has to hire a large number of people with a certain set of talents. Instead of making external recruiting attempts, businesses should concentrate on their present personnel by providing career development possibilities that are profitable for both the company and the employee.

An example of hard skills training would be by providing a group of employees an Advanced Excel Course. After course completion, these employees would receive opportunities to utilize their new skills and serve internally as the company’s Excel Guru’s. The training is provided free of charge to the employee, benefiting his or her marketability and providing new opportunities to engage with leadership and the organization without a formal promotion. Everyone comes ahead a winner; the employee feels valued and the organization reaps the benefits of having highly skilled employees.

Cut Once Measure Twice Using Human Resource Formulas

Organizations can also measure the benefits of hard skills training by using two of the most important — and often overlooked — business and human capital employment metrics. Many skip ahead to calculate the cost benefit or focus strictly employee retention forgetting the power in numbers, big data, formulas, and measurements. Instead these numbers should be evaluated together, combined with employee engagement numbers and trends as detailed in your organization’s annual workforce and employee survey.

  • Cost-Benefit Ratio = Total Benefit ÷ Total Cost
  • ROI = (Total Benefit-Total Cost) ÷ Total Cost
  • Monthly Turnover = (no. of separations during month / avg. no. of employees during month) x 100

In order to find anomalies or particular areas that senior organizational leaders and HR should immediately address, these can be measured on a micro level by looking at trends and statistics by department, manager, location, job title, or pay band within an organization. Bottom line HR metrics are crucial to getting senior management to support your attempts to retain employees through training.

So, to reduce employee turnover and other related costs, trim once and measure twice.

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Eric Friedman

Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of Web-based skills testing for pre-employment and training. Since 2003, has tested millions of job candidates for organizations worldwide such as Zappos, ADP, Coca-Cola, Randstad, and GE. With academic degrees in Psychology and Business and experience with both mature and expansion-stage company growth, Eric has focused on how to hire and motivate team members to be the best they can be for their companies.

Reader Interactions


  1. Atul Bhatt says

    In my experience the single most important factor in ensuring employee engagement is leadership. Good leadership at all levels of the organization automatically results in good performance and the resulting positive feedback loop of good performance-compensation-growth opportunities-retention-employee engagement-good performance.

    An essential characteristic of a good leadership in this context is clarity and constancy of purpose across the ranks combined with the hard and soft skills required. Training certainly can help improve employee engagement but engagement would result into retention and performance if there is clarity and constancy of purpose.


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