4 Tips to Reduce Turnover


Company owners and executives often focus on reducing turnover as a way to save money for their companies. They know losing a key employee costs the firm in several ways. It forces a re-engagement of the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process, with all its attendant costs including costs for flying candidates out to interviews, a vacant position until a suitable replacement is found, not to mention the search fee. It also means a new employee that will have to be trained, and established workers will spend part of their otherwise-productive hours orienting and explaining duties to the replacement.

But not all employee turnover is created equal. According to the Journal of Management, company performance suffers more when the turnover comes from the ranks of management, in mid-sized companies, and where the lost employee’s responsibilities centers on safety, quality, or customer service. It is no coincidence that the higher up in management a departing employee works, the greater the chance that he will be somewhat responsible for all three of these critical areas.

Because replacing an Executive Level employee is extra-costly, in terms of lost productivity and opportunity, hiring for the long term is especially critical. Here are a few ways to make a new upper management hire (and yourself) feel comfortable about his joining the company and the prospects for a mutually beneficial long-term employment relationship:

  • Conduct a “free trial.” Before you extend the job offer, place the candidate in a situation he will face regularly in the new position. This could include role-playing or preparing a reaction to a case study. If the situation is not critical or highly confidential, you could even include the potential employee in a real-life discussion or analysis. Situational Interviews are highly valuable because of the information that you can glean if conducted correctly. This will give you a chance to see the person in action, observing not only his skills, but also his demeanor when interacting with future peers and superiors. At the same time, the candidate can taste success and absorb a bit of your company culture.
  • Make them feel at home. Take time to introduce new hires to their teammates, and encourage conversations that are not necessarily work-related. There will be plenty of time for policy reviews, formal training, and structured work flow, but for now, this informal orientation shows the employee you are excited to have him on the staff. It’s also an opportunity to reinforce those feelings among established staff members by pointing out workers whom the new employee would do well to emulate. Study after study shows that if a new hire has at least one person within the company that he feels comfortable going to with any concerns and questions, without fear of reprisal, the chances of them celebrating their first year work anniversary more than triple.
  • Show them the path to success. Point out current employees who have moved up in the organization or have taken advantage of some of the perks – such as tuition reimbursement – that your company offers. This demonstrates to the new colleague a vested interest in his development. It can come with a subtle hint of the performance standards you expect. Express it in terms of mutually beneficial goals, and emphasize the support you can provide to ensure he can meet the challenges.
  • The important of a positive on-boarding experience cannot be overemphasized. It has been estimated that 7 out of 10 new hires have reservations about their decision to accept a job. Make it a point to do what you can to have new employees feel at home early in their new position. Show them the workplace can be fun as well as productive, and demonstrate ways the firm is dedicated to their success. This will help convince them that your company is more than a stepping stone or “just a job.” It will begin to seem more like a place to build a career.

Ann Zaslow- Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants, a leader in Executive Search since 1999. Please reach out to ISC for any recruitment needs in the following 5 areas of focus: Sales, Financial Services, Energy, Human Resources, & Construction Management.

You can reach the author directly at or via phone at 888-866-7276.

Lisa Finch is a senior recruiter at ISC specializing in Financial Recruiting as well as the Energy Sector. Lisa can be reached via direct dial at 888-771-1488 or via e-mail at