It has become much harder for US organizations to attract and retain top talent. One notable factor in underwhelming employee retention is the lack of cohesion between in-house personal development and growth opportunities. But is training and coaching employees a shrewd investment or a sunk-cost fallacy and waste of corporate funds?

Never underestimate the importance of talent management. Well-planned employee training and development initiatives positively impact company cultures. Moreover, coaching employees improves job satisfaction. Engagement is also higher among a happy workforce, resulting in increased productivity and long-term commitment. So, firms that offer meaningful training programs get a boost to their talent ROI.

This piece explains how employee training alone is little more than a stick without a carrot. You will see how there must be an overall strategy to inspire your developed leaders with subsequent growth opportunities—and what happens when you don’t.

Organizational Fear Post-COVID

Many US companies have been hemorrhaging their talent, especially among middle management and connecting leaders. The Great Resignation or Big Quit is largely to blame. This phenomenon is seeing an ongoing mass exodus of workers, many of whom quit voluntarily. There are many reasons for this shift in the worker mindset, but there is no return to the old ways.

Here are the four main factors fueling the surge in middle manager resignations:

  1. Work-related stress: 46% (Workforce Institute Survey) [1]
  2. Burnout: 43%(Future Forum Survey) [2]
  3. Lack of proper training for supervising hybrid environments
  4. General disruptive effects of the pandemic

One thing is clear: it has become a job seeker’s market, and that has forced companies to rethink their recruitment and retention strategies to get and keep excellent employees.

Worker Demands and the New American Workplace

America’s new employees no longer accept the status quo in this post-pandemic era. The only way to attract and retain the best people now is to engage more and meet new demands. Star performers will leave the company without line of sight to their role in the bigger picture. They want ongoing investment to grow and develop and recognition for their achievements.

But growth without opportunity is futile in the new American workplace. That’s why you must establish full-circle development ecosystems for your rising talent—or risk losing them.

Corporate Programming That Builds Trust in Leadership

EWF’s corporate programming builds trust in your leadership and team resilience. Our highly targeted training courses provide you with a complete leadership development ecosystem. Are you ready to equip and empower your gifted leaders while strengthening and diversifying your talent pool? The ROI for EWF’s quality employee coaching is an improved workplace culture that appeals to talented job seekers and retains your best employees.

Explore EWF’s Tailored Corporate Programming

Coaching Employees: Why Great Talent Leaves After Leadership Development


HR professionals have divided opinions when it comes to leadership development. In a 2022 study, 61% of those surveyed cited a lack of career development as a top reason for poor retention. But 21% blamed career development initiatives as the actual cause of high turnover rates. Both groups are correct in their assumptions. Other reasons cited were unrealistic expectations, little workplace flexibility, and poor leadership. [3]

However, one thing is clear when it comes to employee exit after leadership development, training employees for a role they cannot reach is essentially training them to take that role in a different organization.

The Real Cost of Employee Turnover

Organizations that don’t commit to minority diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lose out. Companies can’t simply fix this issue by only having a diverse workforce. There must also be policies that create an all-inclusive working environment.

A 2022 survey of 3,000 US workers proves the point. It found that 81% of employees would quit working for firms that lacked commitment to DEI efforts. Yet US companies continue to slash DEI jobs at higher rates than non-DEI positions. [4]

DEI = Retention

DEI and retention go well together. That’s because DEI best practices create more talent diversity than non-DEI environments. The benefits are bias-free decision-making, more innovation, and higher workplace engagement. These combined developments also create a welcoming culture that attracts job seekers and retains current workers. Yet despite these facts, DEI job slashing is a real problem. [5]

When Leadership Development Fails

Enrolling your rising stars and top talent in leadership development programs seems wise. It tells your best workers that you have faith in their abilities and are preparing them for new responsibilities. However, providing development programs without opportunities for advancement is one of the drivers behind poor retention. So when nothing changes post-training—and the worker resumes their old role—the inevitable happens.

Your recently trained employee is keen to utilize their new skills and heads to your rivals. Thus, companies that don’t follow through with training initiatives risk coaching employees out of the organization. Not only do you lose your top talent, but you also have the added expense and inconvenience of recruiting and onboarding new staff.

What Follows Training and Coaching Employees?

Post-training employees must have purpose and direction; otherwise, there is no point in their newly acquired skills. Leadership development should also be an ongoing process. Indeed, improving one’s professional and personal growth has no graduation. For these reasons, you need strategies in place to follow through and get an ROI on your upskilled talent.

Post-Employee Coaching/Training Strategies

Post-training initiatives keep employees engaged and ensure they don’t forget newly acquired knowledge or skills. Here are six example strategies to help maximize learning outcomes and retain your valued workers.

  1. Follow-up refresher training to sustain the learning impact
  2. Live projects, allowing learners to practice new skills 
  3. Post-training quizzes, polls, and employee surveys
  4. One-to-one discussions about training and goals
  5. Participant case studies
  6. Award official certifications

Leveraging post-training interventions like those above make learning worthwhile and helps strengthen future programs. The good news for employers is that engaged workers are happier, more productive, and less likely to walk.

Maintain the Connection for Employee Retention

There needs to be a real-time connection between coaching employees and the workplace. If there’s a disconnect, it’s one more wasted project that benefits no one. Proper training and development, though, is a great retention tool. About 85% of millennials surveyed cited personal growth initiatives as the most important quality of modern company culture. [6]

Younger employees often consider experience and training that furthers their career goals just as important as overall compensation. Keeping young talent engaged in skills training and leadership development with opportunities to utilize that training helps organizations retain and grow their best talent. 

The Changing Role of Career Planning


Today’s new hires demand more career opportunities from employers compared to previous generations. Much of this is driven by concerns about work-life balance and quality of life more generally. Income alone is no longer the high employee priority it once was. The COVID pandemic gave US workers plenty of time to reflect on these issues.

A further impetus to career planning lays focus firmly on the employer. We live in a time of shifting attitudes, technological change, and severe talent shortages. Hence, organizations are no longer positioned to dictate worker terms and conditions. Instead, career planners must help talent plot out a career path with the organization and work to remove obstacles and deadends to that progression. The aim is to keep rising talent motivated through clear opportunities for continued advancement.

A Job Seeker’s Market

It’s a job seeker’s market. Candidates decide what they want their career path to look like and expect companies to help them make it happen. Ambitious types demand investments in health and well-being, flex work accommodations, and ongoing training to advance their careers. So, to compete for the best talent, organizations must change and adapt their recruitment, onboarding, and retention strategies to be employee-focused.

Successful career planning aims to match an individual’s potential with organizational needs and opportunities. And remember, the new worker is prepared to walk if they experience the stagnation, obsolescence, or shallow promises of the past.

The Importance of Talent Management’s Changing Role

Managing talent is, and always will be, a vital human resources (HR) function. But the rapid pace of change and the fundamental shift in the worker mindset has forced companies to rethink their employee career management strategies. While the fundamentals of talent management remain the same, the approach has changed.

The talent management process embraces five core principles, summarized below.

#1 Talent Attraction

According to researchers, solid employee referral programs are among the best ways to attract top talent. Attraction focuses on what’s in it for the prospect; why should they work for your organization? Carefully craft job descriptions to highlight your branding, workplace culture, and how the company values its workforce to make them more attractive. [7]

#2 Talent Identification and Investment

Talent identification assesses an employee’s current performance and their future potential. The idea is to identify high-potential talent and provide investment means to get the most out of your employees before your rivals discover their potential court them away.

#3 Talent Development

Talent development focuses on the most effective ways to progress the skills and competencies of star performers. This approach is as much about on-the-job training programs as leadership development and post-training initiatives.

#4 Employee Engagement

All talent management processes gear toward employee engagement. But as a standalone strategy, worker engagement assesses a person’s potential to engage within the organization. For example, how likely are they to devote time, skills, ideas, and creativity to your company if you invest in their growth potential? And what motivation will help spur the increased engagement?

#5 Employee Retention

Talent retention includes a series of transparent practices and policies to keep above-average workers in the company for as long as possible. These typically include employee training, promotional opportunities, flexible working, etc. 

Quickly identifying and exiting subpar employees is often considered part of the worker retention principle as bad, lingering hires can accelerate frustration and burnout in your best talent.

The best practices for talent retention vary depending on your industry, culture, and business model.

Same Principles, Different Approach

There is a close relationship between talent management, organizational trust, and employee retention. But a new geographically dispersed workforce and cultural shift have changed how leaders manage people. Even so, the primary aims are unchanged: to effectively manage talented workers, reduce high employee turnover, and improve retention.

Talent analytics are playing an ever-larger role in post-pandemic talent management. But however HR uses this data, the central focus will always be on worker retention. When people want to stay, there’s more workplace harmony and less lost productivity.

HR Uses for Talent Analytics

Talent analytics requires special software to gather, curate, and deliver factual bias-free data about your workforce.These programs help HR identify star performers and workers with the highest potential. With these metrics, leaders can make better-informed decisions about who needs upskilling training, who is ready for more responsibilities, and where changes can be made to create the biggest impact.

Some of the uses for talent analytics are:

  • Measure employee engagement
  • Gauge morale 
  • Identify strengths/opportunities for growth
  • Identify talent weaknesses or vulnerabilities
  • Measure potential employee attrition
  • Tack talented employee metrics, such as earnings and salary competitiveness

Each company will have its own needs and ways to exploit talent analytics. But in all cases, the aim is to identify strengths and opportunities and help resolve challenges.

When Not to Coach Employees

Remember, coaching employees will do little to retain your talent if the instruction is boring or irrelevant to their current role. Likewise, a great training initiative that equips the learner with new skills and insights is also risky if there is no follow-through. Therefore, never offer career advancement training without opportunities for in-house career progression. Instead, think of other ways to engage and incentivize the workers you want to hold onto.

Increase Employee Retention with EWF’s Turn-Key Emerging Leaders Program

Is your organization looking to build a more robust, diverse talent pipeline? EWF’s in-house Emerging Leaders Program for companies helps develop your trusted talent to fill critical roles. We designed our curriculum-intensive program for your early- and mid-career employees. EWF coaching experts help supercharge the abilities of star performers for the benefit of people and companies. As a result, your ROI positively impacts job satisfaction, improves engagement, and increases employee retention.

Learn More About EWF’s White Label Emerging Leaders Program Here

  1. https://www.ukg.com/workforce-institute-survey/
  2. https://futureforum.com/futureforum-survey-burnout/
  3. https://www.shrm.org/causes-of-poor-turnover/
  4. https://www.goodhire.com/diversity-equity-inclusion-survey/
  5. https://www.foxbusiness.com/DEI-jobs-slashed-higher-rates/
  6. https://www.inc.com/millennials-want-training/
  7. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/130/2/805/2331590