HR professionals love to quote the conversation between imaginary CFO and CEO when they talk about the importance of training employees:

- What if we train them and they leave?
- What if we don’t and they stay?

Serious research shows that both CFO and CEO are right. 10-12% of self-motivated learners will leave after training. Just because they understand their market value, are always ready to invest in themselves and constantly looking for new challenges. They expect that their organisation would provide the following:

  • competitive compensation,
  • learning opportunities,
  • challenging projects that develop their expertise.

Organisations can try to keep high performer by providing them ownership via employee ownership - Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) or similar programmes but the success is not guaranteed.

Modern technology allows to gather data on how good employees are at learning (we call this metric the understanding ratio) as well how they apply what they learn (application ratio). Best employees are at the C quadrant – they demonstrate high understanding and high application. HR professionals tend to focus on those in the C quadrant. But two categories – B and D deserve more attention, especially employees in Category B with high understanding ratio (and thus high learning agility) but lower application ratio. It means they can’t find the way to apply new skills and competencies on the job. It also means HR professionals should dig deeper to help them. Now in the era of the Great Resignation it is even more necessary.

If your organisation has a L&D process in place and you don’t know what happens inside and can’t measure it, you are as one of the Mark Twain’s characters cracking nuts with the Royal Seal.

HR analytics in L&D offers many insights that supports decision-making on many levels including strategic, yet most L&D teams are too busy to collect smile sheets.

Smile sheets as the evaluation tool tend to give a false feeling of “measurability”, but too often they focus on satisfaction and feedback, not impact or performance.

Meaningful L&D analytics is not hard.

According to Baruch Lev, Professor of Accounting and Finance at New York University Stern School of Business,

70% of all fastest-growing companies were founded by employees who modified or re-invented what was done in their previous jobs.

The CFO in the famous dialogue is right – the best 10-12% will leave to start their own companies or to find new pastures – and in most cases HR teams can’t do anything about it. But if they focus on 50-60% of those who are in the middle, they can support business by developing those who are more loyal, but may be possess less “brilliance” of super high-performers/high potentials.

So CEO is right also – find your “silver” and “bronze” tier employees and they will contribute to the success of your business.