What is the true cost of staff churn and how can it be prevented?

Charles Hipps on how to win hearts and minds, and recruit for a successful workforce.

Reading time: 4 minutes

Churn of staff is clearly a pressing task for recruiters. In newly published research from Oleeo, nearly two-fifths of HR leaders (19%) stated that it is a major issue for them, often having to spend huge amounts of time and money recruiting for the same roles over and over again.

It is easy to see why, as 47% expect to lose over a tenth of their workforce in any given year, and we calculated that on average the companies studied lose 14% of staff within a typical 12-month period.

However, for some it’s a more significant issue than this, with 13% stating that they expect to lose 30% or more of employees each year, with a further 8% predicting they will lose between 30-40%.

Indeed, few are not affected by churn; just 3% of recruiters predict they will lose no staff members in a typical year.

While some staff turnover is to be expected, especially in sizable businesses, these figures signify how disruptive staff turnover potentially is, and how difficult many companies find it to hire the right person for the role.

With the race for talent intensifying, HR professionals are understandably feeling pressure to increase velocity and win the hearts and minds of qualified candidates sooner.

That means putting more time and energy into recruitment initiatives and the learning and development that follows.

In the absence of communication throughout the hiring process, they’ll seek it out with other employers

Whether it’s time delays, poor communication with applicants, or a bad online user experience, graduate recruiters and employers risk losing qualified candidates.

As candidates are left in the dark, they consider other offers. Remember, these applicants are constantly online and expect interactions and information. In the absence of communication throughout the hiring process, they’ll seek it out with other employers.

Losing out on a qualified recruit could mean months, if not years, of work have gone to waste and the search for other qualified candidates must start over – but now with a picked-over talent pool.

Evidently, candidates and employees now expect recruitment processes to be smooth, frictionless and seamless, always personalised and built on authenticity.

If you start the engaging process very early, you will find it easier to realise efficiencies in your talent acquisition success. But with resourcing stretched so thinly, this can feel harder than the reality is.

The fact is, not understanding career aspiration and then not meeting expectation is where the process is falling down.

That’s clear from all the horror stories of businesses not achieving retention rates from their talent pools and therefore failing to build a future leader pool – which is what the whole concept of any recruiting is meant to be all about.

For all the success stories about CEOs having started from scratch, the same feels unlikely in the modern age.

Winning the hearts and minds of a future leader has to start immediately. A poor and inefficient recruiting process risks affecting candidate quality.

More importantly for recruiters, getting it wrong leads to extended administration time and duplication of effort, not to mention mistakes, including good candidates getting missed.

This process stretches all the way to the onboarding stage to complete the hiring cycle and get a candidate prepped to be an employee.

This is especially important with new generations! Millennials, and in some countries Generation Z, are shaping up to be the largest workforce ever and the largest living generations.

Millions of them have already joined the workforce and, currently, they make up an astonishing 36% of it. By the year 2025, three out of four workers will be millennials.

The recruiting and hiring process is now one that doesn’t stop when a candidate is offered a job. It’s a fluid process that’s undefined, meaning recruiters must create opportunities for candidate conversation, curiosity and research long before a job opening becomes available where they fit the bill.

The only way of seizing the mantle to ease these pains is to focus on better candidate engagement in a digital era that demands continuous interaction.



Recruitment Marketing is the new norm. Providing relevant content at key moments of candidate receptivity can help to build trust. It also demonstrates an understanding of candidate needs via personalisation.

This can be achieved by amplifying existing marketing content with contextual placements. For example, you can maximise existing career site real estate in a cost-effective way.

At every stage of the process, good automation will facilitate two-way conversations so that candidates can give feedback on what they think of the process and receive feedback in return. The aim is to help them in their career regardless of whether they are hired or not.

Rather than the elongated manual processes some recruiters still have embedded, the race is on to expedite processes and keep candidates better engaged to better match the high-touch process of finding, evaluating, and landing talent, which is more likely to simplify processes and increase hiring velocity.

Essentially, by alleviating the administrative burdens of recruiters, you are better able to personalise processes and interact more frequently with highly soughtafter qualified candidates in warm, authentic and meaningful ways such as including others involved in the recruiting process and updating candidates on the status of their application, or sharing results from an assessment.


About the author

Charles Hipps is CEO and founder of Oleeo



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