News & Events
Oct 29

How to Retain Employees and Build a Workforce Pipeline

Many business-savvy employers know that the key to success is to retain clients – and not to continuously find and woo new ones. It is why they offer loyalty programs and special deals to customers who continue to give them business. But are they investing the same amount of retention efforts into their employees? America’s unemployment rates are the lowest they’ve been in years, and finding qualified candidates is becoming increasingly difficult.

What is the total cost of hiring a new employee? Although it’s difficult to determine an exact amount, several studies have been able to provide a general cost:

  • study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers determined that the average cost for hiring an employee at a company with 0-500 people is $7,645.
  • The Society for Human Resource Management estimated that the average cost to hire an employee is $4,129, with around 42 days to fill a position.
  • In a study by Glassdoor, the average company in America spends about $4,000 to hire a new employee and takes up 52 days to fill a position.

That’s a lot of money to invest in one new employee! Once a company hires a new employee, it still takes between eight and 26 weeks for them to achieve full productivity. For many companies, that amount of lost time and revenue can impact their long-term success. So, why not focus on retaining current employees instead? Employers have begun to look at different ways to keep employees while also growing their bottom lines. The benefits of doing so can be huge:


When employers have an open position, who are the best candidates? Current employees! Companies who utilize their existing workforce can:

  • Increase employee morale: Employees want to see that companies value them and that there is room for career progression. In return, employees are more likely to maintain productivity and efficiency in their current job, knowing there is that opportunity for growth.
  • Save time and money: When promoting from within, employers do not have to take the time to explain the company culture, policies and expectations – the employee already has the institutional knowledge, allowing for more on-the-job training time. Furthermore, internal recruiting is much cheaper than recruiting externally. Employers can easily send out mass e-mails or communicate through word-of-mouth.
  • Find better specialized candidates: For companies who have a specialized field, especially those in advanced manufacturing, finding qualified candidates who are familiar with a certain niche may be difficult. However, having the base fundamental knowledge allows a candidate to be better prepared to succeed in a higher technical position.


Employers who invest in their employees invest in their companies. By upskilling their incumbent workforce, employers have the advantage of addressing skills gaps while also increasing loyalty within the company. Often, companies are hesitant to provide employee training due to several myths.


Employee productivity actually increases through continued training and development. According to one study by the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce, increases in workforce education were far more effective at increasing productivity than increases in the value of equipment (a 10% increase in both produced a productivity gain of 8.6% for education versus 3.4% for upgraded equipment). Because employees are gaining a greater knowledge of skills, they are able to produce better results from their work.


It is difficult to prevent all employees from leaving a company, but the reason is not usually because they were upskilled by their employer. In fact, training and development is vital to employee retention. In a recent survey, roughly two-thirds of workers state they felt workplace training should continue throughout their career, regardless of seniority.

In another study, 70% of employees (from three generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials) indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job. Millennials had the most significant results, with 87% of them citing access to professional development or career growth opportunities as being very important to their decision of whether to stay or go.


Finding a company and paying them to deliver effective training can be time-consuming and costly – but businesses don’t have to face this problem on their own. Most companies in California actually qualify for subsidized training – the only thing they need to do is find the right partner!

For example, Chaffey College Workforce Training Institute (CCWTI) has worked with business and industry for over 20 years in the Inland Empire to deliver no-cost training to employees through a contract with the California Employment Training Panel (ETP). CCWTI was awarded a two-year contract amount of $949,954 beginning November 1, 2018 to provide workforce development training to qualifying companies to support job creation and retention.

“Chaffey College has built a reputation for responding rapidly to manufacturers in the region to provide technical and soft skills training that are greatly needed in the local workforce,” said Sandra Sisco, Director of Chaffey College Economic Development and the InTech Learning Center. “Our training is designed by industry for industry so that we can specifically address and target the skills gaps that employers face with their workers.

In their last ETP contract, in the amount of $949,434, CCWTI served 45 different employers and over 1,000 employed trainees. It was a two-year contract that was so successful, they exhausted it in 16 months. With this current funding, employers can train their incumbent workers in a variety of topics, including:


  • Cal OSHA-10
  • Computer Skills
  • Contemporary Leadership
  • Customer Service
  • Effective Communication
  • Mentorship
  • Six Sigma
  • Teamwork
  • Technical Skills
  • And Much More!


Training is offered in one of two ways:

  1. Customized: Sometimes employers want to address specific needs with their workers, whether it is leadership, effective organization or basic computer skills. In that case, CCWTI and their subject matter experts consult with employers to develop a training program that is customized to what they want their employees to learn. A typical customized cohort requires about 12-15 employees to participate. For more information, contact CCWTI Business Liaison Jon Fox at (909) 652-8492 or
  2. Multiple Employer: For smaller companies or employers who only need to send one or two employees to a training, CCWTI also offers trainings at the InTech Learning Center that are open for them to attend. These classes range from the entire list of trainings and are offered year-round. Trainings range from eight hours to 60 hours. To sign up to receive the weekly training calendar e-newsletter, contact CCWTI Grant Liaison Karena Jimenez at (909) 652-8490 or

“Thanks to Chaffey College’s ETP funding, we were able to provide Workplace English to our employees without the headache of administrative duties and limited cost to us,” said Lee Searing, President of Searing Industries in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. “The trainer was knowledgeable and friendly, and as a result, our workforce communication and productivity greatly improved. We would highly recommend working with Chaffey for all our training needs.”


When companies need to upskill their employees quickly, what is the best solution? Surprisingly, non-traditional apprenticeships may be the fastest, most accurate way for incumbent workers to achieve journey-level status. New legislation in the state of California has made union-neutral registered apprenticeships easier to access than ever.


Apprenticeships can be non-traditional, union-neutral programs that take a new or entry-level employee and upskills them to a journey-level position through progressive wage increases and a combination of on-the-job training and related instruction.

There are several benefits not just for the apprentice, but for the employer:

  • Employers can start registered apprentices off at 40-50% of a journey-level wage, saving them money as an apprentice progresses through the program.
  • Investing in employees, through instruction and on-the-job training, increases their retention and loyalty to the company. Over 90% of apprentices that complete an apprenticeship are still employed nine months later.
  • Employers can develop a customized training plan to ensure that their apprentices receive instruction that directly relates to their on-the-job training.
  • Knowledgeable employees = a safer workplace, which may reduce worker compensation costs.
  • Employers with registered apprentices experience an increase in productivity, reduction in errors and a lower cost for recruitment.
  • Some programs allow employers to verify performance and skill for wage advancement rather than hours on the job, providing apprentices to move through the program at their own skill level.

Some local apprenticeship programs in the Inland Empire are comprised of employers, such as the Inland/Desert Non-Union Unilateral Multi-Employer Apprenticeship. This apprenticeship program focuses on upskilling apprentices in two occupations that are desperately needed in San Bernardino and Riverside counties: Industrial Maintenance Electrician and Industrial Mechanic.

According to the Center of Excellence, there is a five-year projected job growth of 4% for Industrial Maintenance Electricians and 12% for Industrial Mechanics. This does not take into account the thousands of workers who are preparing to retire in the next five to 10 years, further exacerbating the skilled worker shortage.

“By engaging in [our] program, employers can see a reduction in turnover rates, increase in productivity and attain a stable and reliable pipeline of qualified workers,” said Steve Tyrrell, Maintenance Manager of Mitsubishi Cement Corporation and Chairman of the Inland/Desert Apprenticeship Committee.

Registered apprenticeships prepare employers to build a sustainability plan for the future of their company. Furthermore, innovative programs like the Inland/Desert Apprenticeship allow employers to have the flexibility and control: they select the training modules apprentices need to take and they have the opportunity to determine when an apprentice progresses to the next wage level.

For more information about the Inland/Desert Apprenticeship program, contact Chaffey College Grant Liaison Natalie Weaver at or (909) 652-8491.



Unemployment rates are the lowest they have been in years, which means that many employers are facing unfilled positions, increased competition and an ever-widening skills gap. These are just a few ways to help retain talent at your company. What are you doing to build your company’s sustainability?