Employers Report Turnover in Employees

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Boston — Dec. 19
Almost four out of 10 employers report that turnover of front-line employees has increased during the past six months, and about one-third report an increase in turnover of high-potential employees, according to a survey on the most popular ways to retain these types of employees conducted by ClearRock, an outplacement and executive coaching firm headquartered in Boston.

Thirty-seven percent of employers reported an increase in the past six months in the turnover of front-line employees — workers who are usually a customer’s first contact with a business, such as salespeople, customer service representatives, and other sales and support staff.

Thirty-one percent of employers reported an increase in the past six months in the turnover of high-potential employees — workers who employers have identified as future leaders based on their background, testing and performance.

ClearRock received responses from 94 organizations with operations nationwide.

Fifty-six percent of employers in the survey have implemented new or revised retention programs for high-potential employees, and 52 percent have installed new or revised retention programs for front-line employees.

Operations and production workers are the most difficult front-line employees to retain, according to the survey, followed by information services and computer-related workers, sales and marketing employees, and customer service employees.

Operations and production workers are also the most difficult high-potential employees to retain, followed by sales and marketing workers, information services and computer-related workers, and accounting and finance employees.

“More employers are trying to retain employees right from the start of their employment,” said Annie Stevens, managing partner for ClearRock. “With the cost of replacing workers who leave or don’t work out rising to two or three times their compensation, companies are revising their retention programs to make workers’ tenures with them longer.”

Employers reported that their new or revised retention programs have been more successful in retaining high-potential employees than in retaining front-line workers.

Eighty-four percent of employers said their new or revised retention programs have been successful in retaining high-potential employees, while 81 percent said these efforts have been successful in retaining front-line employees.

Sixty-two percent of employers said their efforts to retain high-potential employees have been more successful than the average for their industries, while 30 percent said their retention methods have been equally successful as the industry average and 9 percent less successful.

Forty-six percent of employers said their efforts to retain front-line employees have been more successful than the average for their industries, while 43 percent said their retention methods have been equally successful as the industry average, and 13 percent less successful.

“Although employers have placed a higher priority on retaining their high-potential, future leaders, they are also trying harder to keep entry-level and customer-contact workers due to the effect of turnover on quality and customer service,” said Greg Gostanian, managing partner for ClearRock.

The top ways employers are trying to retain high-potential employees are:

• More careful selection (63%)
• Flexible work schedules (42%)
• Improved training (61%)
• Tuition reimbursement (38%)
• Coaching (54%)
• Exit interviews (38%)
• Better compensation and benefits (52%)
• Retention bonuses (27%)
• Better orientation (51%)
• Casual dress codes (24%)
• Mentoring (43%)
• Health insurance (20%)

The top ways employers are trying to retain front-line employees are:

• More careful selection (69%)
• Coaching (40%)
• Better orientation (57%)
• Tuition reimbursement (38%)
• Exit interviews (56%)
• Mentoring (36%)
• Improved training (54%)
• Casual dress codes (28%)
• Better compensation and benefits (44%)
• Health insurance (23%)
• Flexible work schedules (44%)
• Telecommuting (17%)

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