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In a recent survey, thirty-nine percent of employers expressed concern about losing top talent as the economy recovers and people are less hesitant to make career moves.

The average attrition rate among sales professionals is 25.8 percent. The related cost of each lost rep ranges from $500,000 to more than $1,000,000. The average attrition rate across all industries and positions is approximately 15 percent, and the cost range can vary from $25,000 to $3,000,000.

Think about where you stand in this picture. Then consider how you can implement a strategy to minimize attrition and best manage it when it does occur.

Hire for Retention

Perfect your strategic hiring process and make it work for you.

  • Always be recruiting. Keep your networking radar programmed to attract talent, even if you don’t have a current opening. Companies that take this approach score in the top 20 percent for talent management and realize 22 percent greater returns on their investments.
  • Build a recruitment team. Single out your superstar ambassadors and make talent acquisition part of their jobs. When interviewing, take a 360 approach. Involve not only the person to whom a candidate would report, but also direct reports and colleagues who hold similar responsibilities.
  • Never cut corners. It may be tempting to skip steps in the hiring process, especially when under pressure to hire “yesterday.” Bad idea! Thorough resume review, careful vetting and robust reference checks are all critical to a successful long-term hire.
  • Actively listen to candidates. Ensure that their goals, values and vision align with yours. This will help ensure that you hire for cultural fit as well as skill set match.
  • Keep job descriptions current and specific. Be as transparent as possible in defining the tasks, responsibilities and overall “feel” of a position to your candidate. If there are inconsistencies between their understanding and yours, a red flag needs should be raised.

Nurture Your Team

“Not recognizing what’s important to employees can translate into more job dissatisfaction and a higher volume of turnover.”

Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilders vice president of HR, phrases it well. Starting with onboarding and lasting throughout an employee’s tenure with your organization, treat them like the valued asset that they are.

  • Offer challenge and ownership. Employees who feel their work lacks meaning will stay only as long as they must. The same is true for the underemployed. According to a recent Gallup poll, one-third of younger American workers are underemployed and plan to leave their companies as a result.
  • Help them grow. If an individual feels like they’re in a dead-end job, they lose their motivation, pride and sense of ownership. This is the start of a downward spiral that obliterates ambition, productivity and finally, profitability. Twenty-one percent of respondents to the CareerBuilder survey said they would be incited to stay at their company if their employer were to “carve out a specific career path for me and promote more.”
  • Recognize and celebrate success. Human nature dictates the need to feel appreciated. Keep employee rewards programs in the forefront. Even a simple – but thoughtful and appropriate – verbal congratulations conveys to a person that management values their contribution.

Keep a Pulse on Your Progress

Seek feedback from your workforce on a regular basis. Make this the norm, not the exception, as you foster ongoing engagement and continuous improvement.

  • Start with attachment monitoring. This takes place during your new employees’ first months on the job. Make it a priority to diagnose problems at an early stage and take efficient corrective action. The first 135 days of employment are the most critical in establishing perceptions of trust, fairness, contribution and belonging.
  • Conduct ongoing climate assessments. Hold employee interviews, surveys and focus groups to gather input and address issues as a team. This process should carry through to the exit interview, where you can glean valuable information about what needs to change for the future.

Partnering with a specialized search consultant can prove invaluable as you perfect your methods to combat employee attrition. Read our related posts or contact the recruiting team at BrainWorks to learn more.


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