Circle Insights

Technology and staff retention – improving each worker to improve your workforce

Ollie Watson

Many roles in the transport and construction industries require ongoing training as part of a wider competency management drive, for example drivers, engineers and inspectors need to periodically retake tests, exams and be monitored to ensure that they are still able to fulfil the purpose for which they have been assigned. This process, too, creates opportunities for upskilling your workforce, which in turn helps to improve employee engagement, career development and reduce staff turnover.

The Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report notes that the top three reasons for people leaving their jobs are career development (19.6% of leavers), seeking an improved work-life balance (12.4%) and management (11.8%). Work Institute estimates that the average cost of employee turnover is 33% of that employee’s salary, given the effort of covering their work amongst remaining team members, management having to reshuffle resources and then the cost of finding and hiring a replacement.

Glassdoor calculates the tangible cost of each new hire to be £3000. There’s also the general upheaval of staff turnover combined with the intangible element of carrying disengaged and dissatisfied employees towards the end of their tenure, alongside the time spent searching for, interviewing, employing and training new staff members. It is, therefore, well worth investing the time and effort in not only tracking staff competencies but identifying areas in which your workforce can be upskilled.

Upskilling carries the twin benefits of not only improving the career development of those who are being trained, but also of putting those staff members in a position to be upwardly mobile within your organisation when positions present themselves. Employing from within is often far more efficient than employing recruitment agencies, both in terms of time and cost.


The use of technology is becoming increasingly prevalent in many organisations’ overseeing of staff competency management and training. It makes sense to automate swathes of these processes to free up administrative time to focus maximising the output of your workforce. Deploying technology to underpin these processes also opens them up to your workforce, making them more interactive with their work and more aware of training requirements and possibilities.

This goes beyond simply scheduling everyone onto mandatory courses such as health and safety training for onsite workers. It enables them to research available training opportunities across your organisation which allows them to start shaping their own career within it.

Alongside maintaining core competencies with automated training allocations where required, this facilitates improved workforce engagement with your organisation and their own careers, helping to manage the most common cause for staff leaving their jobs in 2019, career development.

Putting in place such opportunities and actively encouraging staff to take up training opportunities demonstrates a clearer commitment to the individual than might otherwise be the case.

To further enhance staff trust in the training opportunities at their disposal, technology can also help with the allocation of resources for courses, such as allocating training rooms for in-person sessions and ensuring that the trainer has the correct equipment for the running of the session. This helps to enhance the user experience by avoiding last-minute cancellations and courses being disrupted by unavailability of necessary provisions.


Staff turnover is inevitable to a certain degree but using technology to underpin your training enables you to identify potential areas of weakness and strengthen them before they become an issue. If you suddenly lost staff members in one area, how would you cope?

Having this knowledge enables you to facilitate training courses to enhance the skills of other workers so that they could step up as and when required. This not only fills knowledge gaps across your organisation which helps to keep the right people in the right place at the right time, it also demonstrates the availability of career progression to your workforce and allows them to be able to diversify their own skillset.

Utilising technology can play a fundamental role in keeping your workforce engaged, trained and assigned to appropriate tasks across your organisation. For more information on how Cygnum can help, please click here.

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Ollie Watson