Professional development is one of the best and cost-effective ways to retain top talent. Organizations that invest in their employees’ knowledge and skills have higher retention rates than those who do not provide these types of opportunities.

There are conferences and mentoring programs available for nearly every position in every industry. If there is not a physical conference to attend, there are virtual summits and training available. These are great opportunities to engage team members and encourage their growth. It can also increase camaraderie, which can, in turn, increase retention.

For others, conferences are great, but they have a goal to complete their degree or go back to school to further their studies.

Organizations can provide support in many ways including:
• Tuition assistance
• Mentoring to help review term papers or theses
• Opportunities to do research in real time while on the job
• Time to study while at work

By supporting your employee’s efforts to grow, you are demonstrating that you value them as a person. Doing so state that you feel that they are an important asset to the organization. This will create loyalty and allow you to retain that team member much easier.

For argument’s sake, let us focus on why women are leaving the workforce. A University of Mexico study revealed that working mothers earn 14% less than women without children. This discrepancy is mostly due to lost wage growth. When a woman leaves work to raise a child, they not only lose their income, they lose the potential wage increases over the time that they are out of work. Not to mention the loss of retirement savings.

On the personal side, organizations tend to lose top talent, especially female talent, when they have children. This is not to say that it is only women who are leaving the workforce. In today’s modern society, there are more men leaving the workforce, instead of women. This is usually a purely economic choice. If the woman makes more money or has a more stable position, it is the father that stays home to raise the family.

The high cost of quality childcare is mostly to blame. Each year childcare can cost between $18,000 and $25,000 per year for two children under the age of five. Once children are of school age, a whole new set of complications occur for working parents. These include after-school activities and how to manage school breaks, for example. The fact of the matter is, low to middle-class families simply cannot afford quality childcare. It is often less expensive to have the mother exit the workforce.

Organizations can help stem this leak of top female talent by allowing for accommodations for new parents. Flex time for both parents decreases the pressure during the transition period of a growing family. Continued flex time for mothers can help retain quality talent and allow mothers to be with their children and reduce childcare costs while allowing them to still be a part of the workforce.

Supporting your team members professionally by providing opportunities for growth, as well as personally by supporting working mothers, are two great perks that increase retention.

David Klein is a leading Executive IT Recruiter & Headhunter with over 15 years of industry experience.  As Manager of Recruitment Strategy for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. David has successfully led, trained and introduced many in the art of Executive Recruitment and Headhunting. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact David at 646-650-2833 or