I can certainly see the employer's point - how would you feel if you paid for an employee to gain valuable skills, only to have them immediately take those skills to a competitor? I don't see a problem with them pro-rating the payback, although to stretch it over a year may be a bit much.
Actually, the concept shares a foundation with no-compete clauses, which are there to prevent a leaving employee from immediately taking their skills, knowledge, and contacts to a competitor within a set time frame (I think the last time I was subject to one, it was six months).
This sounds like something that needs to be included in the employment contract right from the start, though - it's a bit sketchy to spring on existing employees, as it would be if no-compete rules were unilaterally introduced as well.
IPVMU Certified | 08/04/14 02:28am
While not related to attrition or turnover, I know there have been several IPVMU students tell me if they do not pass and earn the certification, their employer expects them to repay the tuition cost of the course.
I’ve seen this in the early days of Lenel where a tech would go to New York and get rack up obnoxious amounts training and then leave the company for another buck per hour. To get a guy master level certified takes around 15K – especially when you consider travel and expenses.
Today, they have a pretty cool way of combating that. If the certified employee leaves the company and goes to another VAR, their certifications have to be transferred by the hiring company. The transfer fees are pretty hefty. I believe that my master cert is somewhere around 5K just to transfer (still cheaper than the full deal). Then the manufacture (Lenel in this case) provides the former VAR a credit to be applied to their overall training funds.
Companies offering to pay for boot-camp CCNA or MCSE’s deserve to be screwed by the employee. The classes are worthless to the company paying for them.
People are your greatest asset, and at the end of the day it's your responsibility to support and develop them. In a world of commodity, they will make the difference between a 'me too', and a stand-out organization that earns customer trust with their recognized 'value', and excellent customer service.
You would want your people up to speed on the latest trends and technologies, while continuing to develop professionally and personally. A great company (in my opinion) does not ask their people for a do-not-compete, nor would they require training payback (which has clearly benefited both parties), but instead they'd make sure their people were challenged, happy, and see a path to success.
At the end of the day, if you do your job well, you'll have logevity with dedicated happy employees making it extremely difficult for competitors to steal them away. This will come across loud and clear in their interactions with customers, and participation in industry events; which will most certainly be noticed by other top 'resources' who are currently being underutilized, and under appreciated by their employers.
It depends on the training. If it is training that the company requires, such as Manufacturer product training, we pay it. We require it, we pay for it. If they leave, well, tough for you. If it is training that the employee is not required to get, such as NICET, we pay for it after he passes the course. Written policy.
Happens with distributors as well. We got bought over by a bigger company 3 years ago and that's the policy now. First prize is to get the vendor to pay for the training (which happens more often than not for distributors).
There are various other things larger companies enforce which smaller ones don't. Whether it's fair or not probably depends on your mindset and motives.
Personally I have no qualms if a company requests that I do service for x amount of months to make up for expenses on training/education I requested in a personal capacity. When the training is required as a function to fulfill my job I find it less fair - especially if you're not allowed to move into a similar position at a different company.
Chesapeake & Midlantic
Do you make the technician pay for the electric tape and screws they use? How about depreciation on the drills and ladders?
If the company benefited from having a certified employee, either by being able to bid on a job or by the employee being able to better perform their job because of their increased knowledge, then the company got a return on their investment, even if it isn't as big as they'd hoped.
If the employee quit with no notice the minute they walked out of training, I could see the company trying to go after the tech for the cost of training, but not otherwise.
I think the employer would be have to pay an already certified technician more in wage/salary than one they have to train so it seems the employer is going to have to pay for certification one way or the other. If they see value to thier company in having certified techs (and I think there's no question there is value in that), they should have it factored in as a cost of doing business. Then, establish a company climate and policies that encourage employees to stay with the company. In my experience, while wage is one of the issues in losing good techs, I hear more often that it has to do with a perceived lack of respect, ability to have meaningful input into daily operations, opportunity for advancement, stability of the company etc. I've seen a lot of very good technicians leave companies I've worked in for these reasons and offering them $1.00 hr more wasn't enough to change thier minds.
Try this. My employer not only pro-rates the training over year but also includes the cost of your salary for the duration of the training. So if you take a $500 course for a week they tack on a week of salary as well.
Btw, in the poll above, 52% of integrators think this practice is fair while 82% of manufacturers think it's unfair.
Quite a huge difference in perspective.
This conversation blows me away. First let me say that I have fallen under this type agreement when I was a field tech and today (as an owner) I have the agreement in place with my employee's.
Training staff (field or any other) is not a charitable act. As an owner I spend money so my staff can be taughted new skills. These skills will be something they can take with them to any future posistion. These skills willl directly effect their future value, but again it is not charity. It is at its heart a very simple contract.
So why as an owner to I spend so much money on training? So that I can also utilize that skill! To untilize that new skill though I need two things, time and interest.
I need the employee to have enough interest to participate in the learning process. Enough to practice this skill and become proficient. Last enough interest to share this skill with coworkers.
The other item I need for this contract to be fair is time. I need the employee to stay with my company long enough to practice, become proficient and share this new skill. A year is not long enough to do this for most skills but frankly our society dosen't feel that a longer period is fair to the employee (except of course in the exceptions I mention below)
If an employee doesn’t give me their interest or time then they simply are not living up to their end of the bargain. In its most basic form they have broken a contract with my company and should have to pay for part (if not all) of the training.
In the case of our company we pay for training in full as long as you get the equivalent of a “B”. If an employee gets a “C” the company only pays for 90%, “D” we pay for 80%, and if you fail the program we will not pay a penny. This simple system helps to assure the employee does their part by maintaining interest during the training.
After training is done the employee needs to stay with us for a year. If the employee leaves by their choice then they owe the company the full value of the training. Simply put they can take the training and use it for the rest of their lives but they owe for it.
In closing let me say that I did not make this system up, I borrowed it from my first employer. The United States Army. Every one of our military branches have a similar system. You might also find that there is another contract simular to this in marriage.
I am not sure how anyone can say it is unfair.
"For training, do you treat all types the same?"
Yes, frankly I think specific product training can be very valuable for an employee's future. I know that, in our market at least, finding someone that can work with a particular type of fire panel or access control system can be very valuable. Further I think that vendors do understand if their training has great value or not, so often for dated produts training can cost very little so the employee is responsible for a much smaller amount.
"Is it a written agreement signed before each course or a blanket one signed at hire?"
Yes! What I mean is there is language in our employee manual (that every employee gets, must read, take a test about and sign acknowledging they have read). Then before every class an employee reads, signs and dates an agreement concerning training.
"After a year do you typically give them raises commensurate with their new skills, so as to retain them?"
Kinda! See we have a certified apprenticeship program that I wrote. Our field staff knows exactly what training they must take for their next pay increase. For other staff we do yearly goals (including training) and they get increases based on meeting those goals. Some training is simply a job requirement, you need to take the training if you want to continue in your current or new posistion.
"Considering the costs of some programs, just pocketing the employee earned arrearage (unpaid pay period, unused vacation etc.) might not cover the costs. Have you actually ever had to make someone write you a check?"
This is a great question. Answered simply yes, but let me explain. After a tech leaves we inventory their truck for the last time. Training is only part of their obligation at times.