Dr Rob Yeung is a chartered psychologist and coach at consulting firm Talentspace

Some employers fear that providing employees with training and skills development will merely make those employees more employable – and therefore more likely to quit for better paying jobs elsewhere.

However, a recent paper in The International Journal of Human Resource Management by German and Dutch researchers suggests that the opposite is likely to be true.

Data shows that employers offering credible training reap a ‘double dividend’

Analysing data on 4,318 employees working in 149 different organisations, academics Daniel Dietz and Thomas Zwick found that employees who received high-quality training not only worked more productively for their organisations, they also tended to stay with their current employers for longer than colleagues who did not receive the same training.

This was even the case when the training was provided by external providers and resulted in employees gaining official qualifications or certificates that would be recognised by other potential employers.

Economic theory would suggest that training increases the labour market value of employees, which should reduce employee retention. However, the data shows that employers offering credible training in fact reap what the researchers call a ‘double dividend’ of both higher employee productivity and increased employee retention.

Employees may rationally recognise their enhanced employability, but emotionally feel more loyal to the organisations that invested in them. As a result, spending money on employee development boosts rather than reduces employee loyalty.

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