Professional Development

Building an employer brand: Boosting employee retention with language training

If your business is like most, you’ve spent a lot of human and financial capital recruiting and training a talented workforce. Of course, you’d like to keep those employees and continue to reap the benefits of your investment in talent development. High employee turnover can be costly but that’s not the only reason to focus on employee retention strategies.

Turnover is often cited as one of the biggest employer concerns because it exhausts more than your financial resources. A 2018 study from SHRM (Society for Human Resources) and Globoforce indicated 47% of HR professionals felt employee retention was the top workforce management concern they grappled with. 

As employers try to get a handle on the employee churn they’re experiencing, the data shows a clear and overwhelmingly consistent driver of turnover. But before revealing the culprit and discussing potential solutions, it helps to have a handle on the full scope of the problem. How much is employee turnover really costing your business?

Employee turnover will cost you in employer brand capital.

In 2019, forecasts projected as many as 47 million or 1 out of every 3 employees would leave their job. Given the professional and personal challenges many employees face across nearly every industry, last year’s job market may have been even more volatile than forecasted.

Studies on employee turnover indicate the cost of losing talent is enormous and disruptive. It’s estimated each departure costs about one-third of that worker’s annual earnings, which can translate to a minimum of $1500 for hourly wage workers and skyrocket from there. And surprisingly, only a third of those costs are attributed to recruiting, background checks, and other HR-related expenses. Instead, the heaviest burdens of employee churn are associated with reduced productivity and lost knowledge.

These less tangible costs can have a big impact on the bottom line resulting in experience gaps, efficiency losses, and in some cases a lack of diversity that can affect workplace culture. In this light, employee retention becomes one of the most important metrics to ensure the health of your business and your employer brand. 

So how do you keep the talent you have?

A lack of career opportunities and growth is the biggest driver of employee turnover.

While there isn’t a silver bullet for employee retention, there are some clear indications of where employers can lean into better solutions to prevent employee turnover. The biggest contributor turns out to be closely tied not to compensation or employee incentive programs but to professional development.

A lack of career opportunities and growth is the most frequently cited cause of employee churn. In a 2019 Work Institute survey of over 250,000 employees, the clear leader among reasons employees were voluntarily leaving or seeking work elsewhere was a lack of opportunity in their current position.

This lack of perceived career advancement seems to go hand in hand with dissatisfaction with training and development opportunities even among corporate leadership. In a recent survey of managers, 76% of respondents indicated they wanted more training and development and 47% confirmed they were considering leaving their current employer to seek out opportunities elsewhere.

How to retain employees with a more focused approach to talent development.

As the picture on employee retention comes into focus, it’s clear that the key to reducing employee churn is about more than employee incentive programs or traditional employee retention strategies. Take a look at your employee training and learning development programs and ask yourself a simple question. What’s in it for my employees? How does this help my employees advance personally or professionally in a way they’ll find meaningful?

One way to build career opportunities and learning development that feels rewarding for employees is to add language training. A 2019 Rosetta Stone Learner Impact study found that 80% of the employees surveyed who were participating in language training felt more positively about their employer. Furthermore, 66% reported being more engaged with their work and employers were able to attribute language learning training with a 19% reduction in employee turnover.

A 2020 survey of Rosetta Stone enterprise learners expanded on this evidence. A majority of Rosetta Stone enterprise learners felt that by offering language training, their employers had a “high regard” for them and supported their personal growth. Out of those surveyed, 88% affirmed that they wished to see their employer continue to offer Rosetta Stone language training. 

For Rosetta Stone Enterprise learners, it’s clear language training has become a benefit they value and a cornerstone of their employer brand. And it can be a potentially powerful part of an employer’s employee retention toolkit alongside a continued focus on talent development and career opportunities.

Ready to see how language training can help fuel your employee retention strategy?

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Kaz Weida
Kaz Weida is a freelance journalist and photographer who is passionate about crafting content that helps entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes tackle challenges. When not at her keyboard, Kaz can be found in the kitchen indulging in a little craft cocktail inspiration.