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Silo City

The title of this strategy+business article, “One Way to Lose Employees: Train Them”, is not shocking, no? If you believe it, then you’ll most likely believe a fictional, complementary article titled “One Way To Retain Employees: Don’t Train Them“.

Regarding the first, real article, the authors assert that mechanistic training is not enough to retain employees. It just makes them more marketable to competitors. If they’re not treated well and not allowed to grow, they’ll simply leave.

Regarding the second, reinforcing ghost article, the author summarizes his/her message as:

The researchers found that the deliberate withholding of funding and the lack of active encouragement to participate regularly in seminars, training sessions, and workshops kept workers from leaving  because it left them thinking that their skills were becoming obsolete and feeling that they were unmarketable and “stuck” inside the borg. Additionally, the dearth of career mentoring and unhealthy boss–subordinate relationships instilled a culture of fear and an unsettling feeling of quiet desperation among employees. The lack of job rotations also decreased employees’ hopes of a bright future, the researchers found. A policy of no rotating assignments prevented employees from learning about different aspects of the company and from forming new social contacts across the organization.

Between the research findings summarized in the two articles, it’s a slam dunk. To keep employees from leaving, simply don’t train them and keep them sequestered within their one dimensional silos.

But wait! All is not lost. To retain employees while simultaneously training them to be more productive to the org, the authors of the real article recommend this multi-faceted approach:

The researchers found that regular participation in seminars, training sessions, and workshops sent an important signal to workers that the organization was investing in and valuing them. Additionally, career mentoring and healthy boss–subordinate relationships built loyalty among employees. Job rotations also increased employees’ hopes of a bright future, the researchers found. Rotations allowed employees to learn about different aspects of the company and form new social contacts across the organization.


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