As 2010 moves into recovery mode there is a good chance the "talent war" of more bullish times will return, and with it the need to dust off talent retention strategies.

According to workplace survey and analysis specialists JRA, learning and development should be prominent among those strategies.

"Our analysis of 2009 JRA Best Workplaces Survey data showed that 'There are career and personal development opportunities for me in this organisation' and 'The work I do makes full use of my knowledge and skills' were key predictors of an employee's intention to stay," says JRA research director Neal Knight-Turvey.

"Simply stated, people who feel that their training and development needs are being met are much more likely to stay with you than those who don't."

This will likely come as a wake-up call for many, with JRA's research pointing to a decrease in activity in this area in the past 18 months.

"Of the more than 100 organisations who completed JRA's 2009 HR Policies and Practices Review, around 20 per cent anticipated budget cuts, while around 40 per cent of those felt these would most likely come from Learning and Development," according to Knight-Turvey.

"And in November 2009, organisations reported an average of 27 formal training hours per employee, compared to 31 hours reported 12 months earlier. Employees have noticed this too, and their ratings of 'learning and career development' in the JRA Best Workplace Survey have slipped between 2008 and 2009."

Not so in some of New Zealand's best workplaces. While the recession might have suggested little time for anything other than sales, real estate firm and 2009 JRA Best Workplaces Survey Overall Winner, Colliers International New Zealand, chose to take advantage of quieter periods.

"We focused on staff training and development", says chief executive Mark Synnott. In fact Colliers' spending on training and development hit a five-year high during 2009.

JRA will be running the 2010 JRA Best Workplaces Survey in association with The New Zealand Herald from June 1 to 31 August. Registrations are now being taken.