Richard Zahn: Professional Development Is Key in Employee Retention

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A recent Business Insider report notes that many employees grow unsatisfied with their bosses simply due to a lack of professional development opportunities—a finding that has won a comment from Richard Zahn.

Business leader Richard Zahn points to a recent article from Business Insider, which has poignant implications for employers, recruiters, and HR departments alike. The article notes that many employees end up growing dissatisfied with their current employer and seeking out new work, all because of a problem they experience with their immediate supervisor. This is not always the kind of problem one might expect, however; it is not that the immediate supervisor is abrasive or mean-spirited, but simply that he or she fails to offer sufficient opportunities for training and professional development. Zahn, who is passionate about building strong teams of motivated employees, has issued a press statement, weighing in on this provocative report.

According to Richard Zahn, employees do long for opportunities to grow and to develop new skills. He makes a critical distinction, however, in noting that most employees receive plenty of training for their immediate responsibilities. The kinds of training that often get neglected are those that involve the development of over-arching professional skill sets, such as crisis management.

Zahn explains what he means. “All people suffer loss. Catastrophe training is a lost art because we have become a prescription society; it hurts, so we take a pill for it. This approach does not work in business life, however; in business, it is important to take basic psychological training and adapt it to everyday scenarios. Training begins with understanding loss at its core level. Handling any situation that is thrown at you in the critical work environment is expected. Compounding that with one’s personal life can be tough sometimes, so much work is missed because employees do not know how best to deal with life’s challenges.”

Zahn elaborates on his views concerning workplace training and mentoring—and how it is pivotal for employees to learn key life skills from their supervisors. “It is crucial to train employees to understand the fundamentals of life, as they relate to a business setting—fundamentals such as it's not fair, nothing is certain, people are selfish, and so forth,” remarks Richard Zahn.

Zahn says that by helping employees learn to grapple with these harsh realities, employers ultimately produce more effective end efficient workforces. “In the end, the world is unfair, fellow workers can be harsh, deadlines are typical, drama is standard, and so on,” he says. “True leadership means going beyond showing an employee how to carry out the basic tasks associated with his or her position, and offering that employee insight into how to thrive and progress, both personally and professionally.”

The article in Business Insider, meanwhile, notes that the best managers and supervisors are not necessarily the ones who push the hardest or who work the longest hours; rather, the best supervisors tend to be those who are most effective at training employees to be flexible, and to exhibit leadership traits of their own. This statement wins the affirmation of Richard Zahn.


Richard Zahn is a business leader, noted philanthropist, and real estate development professional with years of experience. He is particularly passionate about developing multifamily and master planned communities.

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Jon Kristopherson
PR Management Inc.
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