Improve retention and reduce turnover costs

High turnover: the nemesis of any HR team. The first step in fixing a headcount hemorrhage is understanding why employees are choosing to leave. The second is to improve the way you treat and work with the members of your team.

Criteria’s assessment tools can help you to build a team of committed and aligned workers, creating a clear path to improve your staff retention rates.

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Understanding high turnover

Staff turnover continues to be the bane of many an HR manager’s existence. An unfortunate domino effect falls into place when employees leave your organisation. You lose valuable experience in your company, productivity drops, and any training you’ve invested walks out the door. Already not an ideal scenario.

But then there’s the operational costs associated with hiring a replacement. It’s a lot of time and effort that could go into other more profitable ventures instead of trying to backfill a position. And let’s not forget staff morale. No workforce likes to see a high staff churn rate, as it creates general stress and prompts questioning of organisational culture.

Turnover is especially painful, as it’s often preventable if you take the steps to avoid it. With all these problems in mind, improving staff retention rates should be high on the priority list for any smart company. There are two ways you can do this.

First, you have to put in the effort to be a great truly employer. And it’s not just the big-ticket items like salary or benefits. Little things matter a lot when it comes to creating a great place to work.

Second, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In this case, that means hiring people who are a good fit for the role and your company is a critical step to securing longer employee tenure.

There are any number of reasons why an employee decides to leave an organisation. But generally, if you're suffering from poor retention, there are some common culprits:

  • You’re not paying your staff enough.
  • You’re not treating your staff well enough.
  • Your competitors are offering more than you.
  • Your employees are burnt out from a high-pressure company culture.
  • You’re hiring the wrong people.

Take a step back and honestly determine whether any of the above apply to your organisation. This recognition is an important first step because only after identify the problem, can you start working to fix it.

Additionally, keep in mind that improving turnover rates is the goal. It’s not realistic to think you can prevent it altogether.

Low turnover is usually considered the benchmark for successful human resources management. And most of the time, that’s true. But there’s a limit on how low you can go. Sometimes when turnover is incredibly low or non-existent, it can be a sign of employee complacency and lack of drive. One glimmering bright side of turnover is that gives you the opportunity inject your organisation with new, innovative talent and ideas that keep your business competitive.

Like most things in life, it’s all about striking the right balance.


Becoming a better employer

If your business is dealing with high turnover, it’s time to make a change. Fortunately, employee behaviour mirrors general human nature, and often it’s the little things make all the difference.

Make efforts to right the ship and steer it towards a more positive work environment. Vocalise your appreciation for your employees’ efforts. Communicate often and well with your employees on an individual level. Engage your employees by giving them challenges and by promoting a social culture within your organisation. Support your employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance.

If you offer your employees opportunities for growth by acknowledging their individual aspirations and creating opportunities that utilise them, they are likely to see your organisation as a place where they can further their career.

That’s not to say that the big things don’t count, though. Pay your employees the salary they deserve – and conduct research regularly to keep up with your competitors. If an employee asks for a pay raise, take them seriously and consider it. After all, the cost of replacing them is almost certainly higher than the raise they’re asking for.


Hiring the right people

Criteria assessments help you identify qualities in candidates that can’t be proven by a resume or interview. Things like integrity, productivity, and aptitude. Hiring committed, productive employees reduces your rates of involuntary turnover (i.e. firing staff for underperformance). Hiring people who are right for the role reduces rates of voluntary turnover (i.e. employees resigning due to dissatisfaction with their job).

There’s a variety of assessments you can use to figure out which of your candidates are the best fit for a given role. You can select the Criteria assessments that are the best fit for your industry and organisational needs.

A manufacturing company used our Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST) to select candidates by measuring them against a benchmark, created by the scores of their current employees who took the test. They found that employees who scored above the benchmark accrued 17% greater tenure, were 20% less likely to voluntarily terminate their employment, and were 88% less likely to be involuntarily terminated. You can read the full case study here.

Our client Clean MD saw their turnover fall from 37.7% to 22% over the year after they added three Criteria assessments to their hiring pipeline: Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP), CBST, and Employee Personality Profile (EPP). Learn more about their strategy in the full case study here.

Large call centre Heartland ESCI identified a significantly low 90-day retention rate – half of their staff had been hired in the past three months, resulting in lower productivity from the sheer number of new, less experience personnel. They introduced the Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT), the EPP, the Computer Literacy and Knowledge Test (CLIK) and the Typing Test to improve their new hire productivity rates and reduce turnover. It worked. At the end of 2017, their turnover rate had fallen by 65%, and 91% of staff had been retained over 90 days. Check out the full case study here.


Our assessments help you get the right people in the right roles from the start, a crucial first step towards longer employee tenure. Criteria can help you build an employee retention strategy that the drives results you’re looking for.

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