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

HR Metrics, Employee Productivity, Employee Engagement

Driving productivity and engagement while improving employee satisfaction and slashing turnover is on every manager’s wish list. The solution might be as simple as implementing employee training programs.

The benefits of formalized training programs are numerous, whether looking at the immediate benefit of employees with renewed energy and newfound skills or the long-term impact through decreased turnover and improved employee satisfaction.

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

Impacting employees’ skills and knowledge can be accomplished through Hard or Soft Skills training. Hard skills refer to more tangible, measurable skills such as with software or machinery while soft skills encompass professionalism, networking and communication.

Both Hard and Soft Skills trainings are beneficial, but hard skills training can also fill a recruiting need when a company requires an influx of specifically skilled workers. Instead of external recruiting efforts, organizations can focus internally at its current workforce through career development opportunities which mutually benefit the employee as well as the organization’s bottom line.

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

These can be measured on a micro level in looking at trends and data by department, manager, location, job title, or pay band within an organization to help uncover anomalies or special areas HR and senior organizational leaders should address right away. Bottom line HR metrics are important in gaining senior management buying to your employee training retention efforts.

So cut once and measure twice to lower employee turnover and other related expenses.

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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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