Absence of conflict of interest.
Benson, G.S. (2006). Employee development, commitment, and intention to turnover: A test of “employability” policies in action. Human Resource Management Journal, 16(2), 173–192.
- The study’s objective was to examine the relationship between employees’ intent to leave (that is, employees’ stated intentions to leave the firm in the next year) and their participation in on-the-job training and company-sponsored training classes.
- The author used a statistical model to examine the association between employees’ participation in on-the-job and company-sponsored training classes and their intention to leave the firm in the next year, using data from an employee survey.
- The study found that participation in on-the-job training was associated with a reduction in employees’ intent to leave, but there was no significant relationship between participation in company sponsored training and intent to turnover.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the work-based training; other factors are likely to have contributed.
The on-the-job training
Features of the Intervention
Employees of a high-technology manufacturing firm reported the amount of time they spent in on-the-job training or company-sponsored training classes in the previous 12 months. The study did not provide detailed descriptions of the two training programs. About 35 percent of the sample participated in on-the-job training in the 12 months before the survey, and 82 percent of the sample participated in company-sponsored training classes during that period.
Features of the Study
The author analyzed results from an employee survey administered in June 2000 at a single high-technology manufacturing firm. The analysis linked the survey results from the 667 employees who responded to the survey and their personnel records from 1996 to 2000, which recorded information on salaries and promotions. The average salary of respondents was $70,000, and nearly 60 percent of respondents were managers at the firm. Average job tenure among the respondents was 14 years. Almost half the sample had a college degree, and 37 percent held a master’s degree.
Most employees in the sample received at least some on-the-job training or company-sponsored training, and the study did not include a comparison group that received no training. By comparing outcomes of employees who received more training with outcomes of employees who received less training, the study assessed the impact of increases in the amount of training on employees’ intention to leave the firm in next year. Using a regression analysis, the authors included control variables for employee tenure, education level, business unit, managerial status, salary, yearly rate of promotions, and stated commitment to the organization.
- The study found that participation in on-the-job training was associated with a reduction in intent to leave. There was no significant relationship between company training and intention to leave.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The statistical model included control variables related to tenure and organizational commitment, but the author did not account for differences in race, ethnicity, age, or gender between the groups. These differences between the groups—and not the training interventions—could explain the observed differences in outcomes. For example, if younger employees are more likely to seek out training opportunities, then the observed differences in the intent to leave of the two study groups could reflect this rather than an impact of the training.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that groups being compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the on-the-job and company training; other factors are likely to have contributed.