Mark Rouse Toronto executive search & marketing recruiter

By Mark Rouse, Toronto Recruiter & Partner

The cost of employee turnover is higher than you may think. Attrition costs can add up to 1.5 – 5 times the employee’s salary, not to mention the negative cycle that comes with a high turnover rate: Lowered morale, lowered productivity and innovation, poor employment brand and referrals, and lowered customer satisfaction and profitability. Here are nine steps to avoid the cycle and recruiter proof your company.

1. Create an open dialogue

It’s important to maintain an open dialogue with employees at every level. The companies that have a low employee turnover are those who regularly share, discuss, and even evolve the corporate vision using employee input. Encourage, or even require regular manager-employee communications and ask for feedback. During these discussions, be open about your own commitment to the organization and your vision for its success, and don’t shy away from direct questions; what do you want? Why do you stay?

2. Know the market and your employee’s needs

Keep on top of current conditions and opportunities in the market, including salary standards. You put yourself at a great disadvantage for retaining top performing employees if you aren’t educated on market conditions and what the competition is offering. Once you know what else is out there, commit to remaining on par with related roles and opportunities, or balance salary with other important trade-offs. To that note, make sure you understand what your employees think is important and do what you can to offer it.

3. Start with your leaders

As go your leaders, so goes your team. Focus efforts on your top talent, those high performing employees that make the company better and influence those around them. When they leave, replace your top performers quickly, ideally with even better talent. The added cost will pay off in reduced employee turnover and saved attrition costs.

4 Commit to everyone’s career path

Know what each of your employee’s career goals are, and then help them achieve that career success – even if it’s not with your company. The loyalty you create will drive long-term benefits in referral (and occasional return) of employee alumni.

Employee Satisfaction


5. Regularly review performance / progress

The most commonly cited employee frustration is lack of communication or feedback. The best approach is weekly one-on-one meetings between a manager and each person they oversee. It doesn’t have to be formal, and can be quick, but touching base is important. If weekly meetings are out of the question, casual monthly or quarterly touch-base conversations are the next best thing.

6. Show appreciation

“I shouldn’t have to thank my employees; I’m paying them to do their job well and that should be enough”.

This is the most common mistake companies make. The emotional satisfaction of being appreciated is more important than money for most people. A simple but genuine “thank you” or “great job” can go a long way to making employees feel valued.

7. Keep people challenged

Make sure to give people work that is interesting and challenging to them. Keep in mind that people with the same title or position may have different ideas of what is interesting or challenging. Let employees provide input into the work they do, and allow high achievers to work on special projects. Keep people challenged and you will keep them engaged.

8. Lead by example

Great companies, that attract and retain great employees, generally have leaders, group leaders, and managers that are committed to the success and career growth of their people. When people lose faith and/or respect in their leaders, they begin looking for an exit.

9. Build community

Build community among your team and among your leaders. This is the most important thing a company can do to build employee longevity. Think about your own experiences; nobody wants to leave a work environment where they’re surrounded by their friends.

So what do you do when headhunters are calling to steal away your best employees? Nothing. Let them call. Let your employees speak to them, and encourage an open dialogue. Doing this removes the “forbidden fruit” allure and ultimately your company appears self-confident. The most important strategy is to be proactive rather than RE-active by making employee satisfaction an ongoing priority, and being able to provide great answers to the question, “why do I want to stay here?”

For more on reducing employee turnover, check Gary Hinde’s Employee Motivation: 3 Insights From A Headhunter

IQ PARTNERS helps companies hire better, hire less & retain. Our recruiters specialize in Marketing, Communications, Consumer Goods & Services, Legal, Retail, Sales, Technology, Finance, Life Sciences, HR & Operations, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings.

Mark Rouse Marketing Recruiter

Mark Rouse

Mark leads Canada’s largest Marketing Communications & Media recruitment practice. Leveraging close to two decades of industry experience in the Marketing Services and Agency businesses, he has been responsible for hiring, developing, and retaining top talent as Vice-President with companies such as Young & Rubicam, Wunderman, and J. Walter Thompson.

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