Three Techniques to Reduce the Business Impact of Employees Quitting

In my last post, I talked about ten ways to keep employees reasonably happy, engaged, and productive. Now, let’s look at the other, inevitable, side of the coin. Employees that leave anyway.

Let’s face the facts. Many of your employees – and I’m talking about your most productive recruiters, staffing coordinators and sales staff – are just waiting for the right time to quit. The staffing and recruiting industry is known for generally high turnover among staff; averaging 50 percent of more according to research by the American Staffing Association and Staffing Industry Analysts. What’s more, in today’s economic client where there is tremendous pressure on employees to perform, surveys from a variety of sources indicate that roughly one-third of employees are ready to leave – they are, according to the surveys, just plain tired of their employment situation and all that it may represent.

And that, friends, is going to cost your business dearly. As recruiting and staffing professionals, you know what it costs to recruit and train new internal staff when valued employees leave, but employees who are already disengaged and ‘marking time’ on the job are costing you too. In publishing the results of the Mercer What’s Working ( survey it was noted that, “The business consequences of this erosion in employee sentiment are significant, and clearly the issue goes far beyond retention,” said Mindy Fox, a Senior Partner at Mercer and the firm’s U.S. Region Leader, in a press release announcing the highlights of the survey. “Diminished loyalty and widespread apathy can undermine business performance, particularly as companies increasingly look to their workforces to drive productivity gains and spur innovation.” In short, many of your staff are eager to quit.

So how do you mitigate the loss of your employees quitting?

If employee turnover is an expected consequence of your business processes, then you should have a strategic plan to reduce the business losses associated with that turnover. What you don’t want is any of your staff to leave with KNOWLEDGE in their heads that contributes to your firm’s business and its profitability.

Following the lead of such organizations as General Electric, Siemens, the World Bank, and others, the knowledge management of your staffing or recruiting firm has to include ‘Continuity Management’. Here are three techniques for gathering, storing, cataloguing and making available this knowledge:

  • First, use in-person methods to identify the knowledge that is critical to capture. According to a study by the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC), while electronic communication (email, on-line chat, etc.) has its value and its place, it does not and cannot take the place of knowledge gained in face-to-face interaction. Such human interaction opportunities include:
    • Senior management meetings
    • Interviews with internal subject matter experts
    • Internal or external communities of practice and/or interest
    • Internal conferences
    • Focus groups
    • Exit interviews
  • Second, establish methodology, infrastructure, and practice of capturing tacit and explicit knowledge for use
    • Recording and reporting tools. This includes information systems (such as your staffing and recruiting software) that record activities and other business processes, meeting notes and related documents, or even audio or video tapes of events
    • File storage and access. This may be hard copy files for some information or any form of digital information storage, such as databases and document management systems
    • Establish review and validation process for captured knowledge
  • Third, establish methodologies and practices for the access and use of knowledge
    • Knowledge databases should be easily accessible and updateable
    • Business information staffing and recruiting software systems should be able to suggest best practices based on real-time capture of tacit and explicit information
    • Establish rules, techniques and processes for the management of your business data that tracks employee use and prevents its loss or unauthorized use

While there are a lot of things that you CAN do to improve employee retention, you have to be prepared for the inevitable loss of staff employees. Doing so will play a huge role in the ability of your staffing and recruiting firm to deliver continuity in its customer service and other recruiting and operational processes. And that’s good for your bottom line.


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