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An examination of the utility of training: Relationships with turnover and promotion (Wagner 2004)

Citation

Wagner, S. (2004). An examination of the utility of training: Relationships with turnover and promotion. A thesis presented to the Department of Psychology and Special Education, Emporia State University, [1-69].

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to explore the relationship between employee training investment, promotion strategies, and employee turnover in credit unions in the United States.
  • Using data from a 13-item survey, the author compared employee turnover rates and promotions across organizations with differing human resource management practices, such as employee training programs and promotion strategies.
  • The study found no statistically significant relationships between employee training investment or turnover and the human resource management practices examined.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is low. This means that we would not be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to the human resource management practices examined. However, the study found no statistically significant effects.

Intervention Examined

The Human Resource Management Strategies Examined

Features of the Intervention

Strategic human resource management involves designing and implementing policies and practices that support employees in achieving an organization’s objectives and, in turn, improving overall organizational health. Such practices are often viewed as an investment in both the individual and the organization. A common strategy involves employee training, an organized effort to encourage learning through instruction. Training programs can take many forms and target a variety of topics, such as general or firm-specific skills. Another such practice is promoting employees from within the company to fill vacancies, rather than searching outside of the company for suitable employees.

Features of the Study

The study estimated the relationship between employer human resource management strategies and rates of employee turnover and promotions in 26 credit unions. The author developed a 13-item training and development survey to collect information on training programs and hiring practices used by the credit unions, including frequency and costs of training, yearly turnover rate, and promotion strategies. The author attempted to recruit human resource executives representing 500 credit unions with $100 million or more in total assets throughout the United States. Thirteen of them agreed to participate, completing the survey described above. Due to the low response rate, 200 smaller credit unions ($25 to $50 million in assets) were sampled, and 13 of these sites completed the survey, for a total sample size of 26 credit unions.

The author compared the outcomes of credit unions that had one type of human resource policy with firms that had the other type, as reported on the survey. For instance, the turnover rates of credit unions having a promote-from-within hiring strategy were compared with those of credit unions with hire-from-outside strategies.

Findings

  • The study found no statistically significant relationships between the human resource management practices examined and employee turnover or promotion rates.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

In this study, human resource outcomes were evaluated among a sample of credit unions that agreed to participate in the study and disclose information about their training and promotion strategies. Credit unions that chose to participate in the study likely differed systematically from those that chose not to participate. For instance, small credit unions were more likely to participate than large ones. The author did not apply any statistical controls that would account for differences between the credit unions being examined or demonstrate that the groups of credit unions were similar on observed characteristics that might be related to the outcomes. Therefore, the observed differences in outcomes might reflect factors other than the credit unions’ human resource management strategies.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this study is low. This means that we would not be confident that any estimated effects would be attributable to the human resource management practices examined. However, the study found no statistically significant effects.

Reviewed by CLEAR

December 2015

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