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Training agreements


Hello, could anyone assist me please, I am looking for formatted and current advice regarding restrictions upon employees who for example may have signed or who may have been asked to sign an agreement when taking training or upon joining a company, that can tie the employee to a particular company, by a time or monetary restriction, I would lioke to understand current thinking upon what is right & permissable.

Thank you
Stan Broadhurst
Stan Broadhurst

7 Responses

  1. Training agreements
    Hi Stan,

    As I understand it, almost anything is possible. The employment contract being a legal commercial contract can have whatever rules the company feels like it wants as long as they apply equally and are seen as reasonable.

    This may not be quite as straight forward but I am not a contracts expert?

    The real question here is do you go for carrot or stick?

    You may feel that you can attract new staff or keep good existing staff by offering them valuable personal development or professional qualifications.

    The attraction may be reduced or negated if there is the potential for a large personal financial penalty if they leave.

    People may have to leave for all sorts of reasons and so this may put off genuine candidates / loyal staff who want to stay and also want to develop.

    By far the best approach I managed in 1996 was an externally accredited diploma programme for call centre team managers at a financial service company.

    The programme included:
    In house training courses with external speakers on some modules.

    On the job training including the compilation of a portfolio of experiences.

    A written project at the end of the programme.

    Senior manager involvement as sponsors and steering group.

    An externally accredited diploma awarded at the end of the programme which was 18 months long.

    This had no claw back or prior agreements. SO what was the impact of the programme?:

    Prior to starting the turnover rate of team leaders was over 40% p.a.

    After the first three months of the programme it never got above 10% and by the end was at 4%.

    In addition, due to the involvement of the managers and workplace application between each module we saw increases in productivity and reductions in staff turnover and sickness levels another issue at the time.

    Hope this helps.


  2. yeah, but no, but yeah!
    In addition to Nick’s excellent comment and case history I would add the question….are you really going to sue someone who takes the training and then leaves?
    I know it is a defeatist approach but if anything is going to make the employer look draconian, money-grabbing and heavy handed it is going to be looking as if you are planning to chain people down and sue them if they don’t comply.

  3. Training agreements
    Hi Stan

    Happy to discuss how we approach this in our organisation with you. You can contact me off line through my profile.



  4. Thanks
    Thanks for your comments & assistance everyone Briodget, there is no profile for you here on TZ

    Regards Stan Broadhurst

  5. Clawback
    You might also like to look at the earlier thread at
    This is an easy one to get wrong from both a psychological and legal perspective. Personally I favour clawback clauses (but would use great discretion in enforcing one). For the legal angle, take specialist advice. Most organisations’ clawback clauses are unenforcable (though one or both parties rarely know this), so do check it out carefully.

  6. Another viewpoint
    Hi Stan

    It strikes me that many companies look as this whole subject from a very negative, unhelpful and unrealistic viewpoint, which boils down to: Did we have to pay for someone to get trained who soon after left the company, taking that skill with them.

    Here, from real life, is an alternative viewpoint:

    Many years ago I joined an IT company as one of 12 trainees. The training lasted for three complete months during which we contributed precisely zilch to the company’s bottom line.

    There were NO conditions attached to this training, yet the company made back their investment many times over.

    How do we know that?

    We know because the people involved in setting up the training scheme costed it in detail before hand and calculated what would have to happen in order to get the minimum acceptable ROI. Which was that enough trainees would have to stay with the company, using their skills, to TOTAL at least 12 years, after the training period finished.

    What they didn’t worry about was the length of time any individual trainee would remain for the whole 12 months.

    As it turned out, one trainee died during that first year, and another left. A couple of years later a senior manager left to start up his own company, and took four of the ex-trainees with him.
    Another three ex-trainees left over the next few years. But three of the trainees remained for approximately 12 years – not in total but each – until they were hit by a major downsizing exercise.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognise that those last three people contributed a threefold return on the original investment all by themselves.

    The message, I suggest, is not to devise watertight contracts – which are indeed quite likely to deter people from taking training courses at all – but to act in a genuinely businesslike manner so as to optimise the chances of getting a fair and realistic ROI.

    (That would include not wasting money by sending employees on faddish courses, the ROI of which cannot possibly be calculated.)


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