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The Best Way to Reduce Turnover

January 8, 2015

High turnover. Poor attendance. Low performance. Accidents. Workplace bullying. These are all reasons why an organization might approach industrial/organizational psychologists or consultants looking for a solution to intervene and tackle these issues. While there is no silver bullet to reducing or eliminating these problematic behaviors, there are several methods that we can take to reduce them. One of these methods that organizations often take is improving or revamping the selection process. Making changes to the assessment process or adding steps to the process is an effective and efficient way to facilitate positive changes in the organization.

Since we are usually looking to the hiring process as a way to combat problems currently in the organization, we often refer to them as interventions. However, what if we took a different perspective on selection tools and the hiring process? Instead of tackling issues once they occur, why not prevent them from occurring? Selection systems can serve as a mechanism to ensure that you are identifying candidates who are more likely to be successful on the job. By preventing entry of candidates who are likely to exhibit these problem behaviors, there is no need to develop more intensive interventions afterwards. In the end, this is a huge cost and time saving.

For example, maybe your organization is doing seasonal hires for the first time. The selection process for these employees may be overlooked because they are temporary positions. However, it is just as important to have a hiring process in place for these individuals as any other position. They still have some of the same duties and responsibilities as other employees. You don’t have to experience the high turnover and poor performance issues yourself to know that a hiring process for these positions is in your best interest. As such, it’s best to implement a system so you can prevent any issues from occurring and instead facilitate positive outcomes throughout the process.

Furthermore, framing selection systems as prevention mechanisms does not bar you from setting goals and determining the utility and gains from the system. Rather, you can track your progress to ensure that you are continuing to meet your goals or even improving upon your goals. Metrics such as turnover, safety incidences, and performance can provide information on the effectiveness of your process. Additionally, metrics including time to hire and resource investment can provide information on the efficiency of your process. Hiring systems are one way to prevent these metrics from dipping low.

There is never a bad time to take another look at your hiring process and determine if there are ways that you can make improvements. Don’t wait to let the problems arise. Take a look at your hiring system now to see if there are ways that you can encourage more positive outcomes. Prevent the issues from occurring at the start. After all, prevention is the best intervention.

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Alissa Parr, Ph.D. Alissa Parr, Ph.D. is a Senior Consultant at PSI. Her areas of expertise include the development, implementation, and evaluation of assessment processes. Alissa has experience managing entry-level through executive level assessment and selection efforts across a number of different industries including government, financial, military, education, healthcare, and manufacturing.