There’s an old business saying that it’s cheaper to retain customers than it is to acquire new business. This also holds true for your employees.
A study published in the Wall Street Journal it was shown that people hired from outside the company commanded salaries of 18% to 20% higher than internal staff doing the same job. Even worse, they are 61% more likely to be laid off, and 21% more likely to leave the company of their own accord.
While these figures apply to the US labour market, they do show that bringing in new blood is not always better than making better use of the staff that you have. This is also borne out in the US study that found that new staff may have higher qualifications or experience, but that retained staff with skills specific to the business are still able to put in a better performance.
So, what to do? The short answer is to look after the people in your business by offering them training or opportunities to improve their qualifications. Not only does this ensure that you have staff who know the business, their role and the company culture, but you can also produce a greater sense of loyalty.
You can help upskill staff in a number of ways:
Take advantage of the Skills Development Levy As a registered business, you are most likely paying 1% of an employee’s pay to this fund that is intended to help businesses contribute to developing the skills of their staff. Training and short courses are offered and administered by the various Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) from these funds.
SARS training exemptions The tax authorities have made it easier to support staff training by making scholarships and bursaries tax exempt. There are obviously certain qualifying criteria, but genuine efforts to help your employees improve their qualifications can be done at no further tax penalty to you or your employee.
In-house training This is probably the most cost-effective, and directly beneficial to the business as the skills, insights and priorities taught would be specific to your business. Obviously you are unable to offer a certificate or any formal qualifications, but this process might also inspire your employees to seek formal training to add these skills to their CV.
Key take-away: It pays to help your staff improve their skills and qualifications. Doing so is cheaper than higher new staff with better qualifications, and you’re likely to retain your employees and gain their loyalty.