HR practitioners can foster loyalty by encouraging mobility among staff, and should stop worrying that if they train them well they risk losing them.
In her new report published this week. Linda Holbeche, of Roffey Park Institute, said employees should be given training even if it makes them more employable to rival organisations.
Offering training opportunities is more likely to encourage them to stay with their employer than to leave.
The report, The Future of Careers, is based on questionnaires, focus groups and case studies carried out between 1998 and mid-2000. More than 200 managers, including 80 from HR, responded to the survey.
“Human resources professionals can help to enrich jobs and keep people motivated. One crucial element to this role appears somewhat ironic – it involves encouraging loyalty by supporting mobility,” she said.
“In many organisations, it is assumed that investing in training employees who are clearly mobile and likely to leave is rather a waste of the company’s resource.
“But paradoxically, it is the thought that the company is providing the development for people which they feel they will need for their futures elsewhere which actually strengthens their loyalty to their current employer.”
The research also found that 98 per cent of respondents considered themselves to be employable. They said they were actively managing their careers, seeking out skill-sets for their long-term employment future.
Commenting on the report, Barclays group HR director Gary Dibb said the concept of the career has undergone a transformation. But he added that this does not mean employees must constantly jump ship.
“The day of the guaranteed job for life is over but what we find is that institutional memory is hugely important,” he said.
“We have a conscious strategy to increase the number of training days available each year, and we never have a problem placing high-performing senior people within Barclays.
“If they are good, we have space for them.”