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Automation in Talent Acquisition - Part 4: Retention Automation

Up to 66% of workers realize they are a bad fit for a company after they are hired, and half of these leave before six months are up. How can companies improve retention while maintaining workflows and reducing burden on human resources staff? 


Automation can be key to delivering insights into recent hires and refining hiring processes to attract and retain high-quality candidates. Implemented correctly from the very start of the candidate search process, automation in talent acquisition can improve hiring, onboarding, and retention.

The Developing State of Employee Retention 

The dramatic reduction of the workforce due to the pandemic was dubbed the “Great Resignation” by companies who saw employees walk away in droves, but there was an expectation that things would swiftly turn around. 

However, the shift wasn’t a course reversal into a restoration of the status quo; instead, the labor pool shifted into a “Great Refresh”, with in-demand jobs failing to find takers without dramatic restructuring by organizations

Job flexibility is now a core demand rather than a perk. Being allowed to work remotely and control hours worked has become a top must-have. A staggering 35% of employees state they would rather find another job than stay with a company that would require them to work in an office full time. 

To develop and maintain a state of “Great Retention”, companies must achieve the following:


  • Identify what employees want and need from their job
  • Create work environments that meets those wants and needs
  • Commit to putting employees ahead of shareholders
  • Develop existing talent within the organization to fill upcoming roles
  • Leverage analytics to make data-driven decisions in hiring
  • Repeat proven processes as needed to replicate successes

Why Employee Retention Automation Is Critical

Employee retention is key to long-term success of any organization. Employee acquisition and training is costly, and constant turnover can significantly impact revenues. In addition, high employee churn rates have associated costs connected to knowledge loss and productivity dips due to interrupted workflows and reduced morale.  

The cost of employee turnover

Replacing employees requires candidate sourcing (including recruitment costs, such as advertising), background checking, interviewing, onboarding, and an adjustment period until the employee reaches full productivity. The total cost of a replacement hire can run anywhere from 16% to 213% of an employee's salary and causes U.S.-based companies to expend up to 1 trillion every year in turnover expenses.

The cost of employee knowledge and skills loss

Employees are a company’s biggest asset. Workers who have settled into their position and gained extra knowledge and skills specifically connected to their responsibilities are typically hard to replace with talent of equal expertise. 

When a seasoned worker leaves, they take their knowledge with them, and in many cases cannot relay such institutional knowledge to other employees before they exit. New talent is unlikely to possess the same understanding, especially in high-demand and constantly evolving fields like technology. 

Without that information and skill set, employees remaining can end up confused, disoriented, and without appropriate direction, accusing lowered productivity until the lost skills and knowledge can be replaced - a task that may take months. 

The cost of time-lapse due to employee churn

Hiring in the US is a $70B+ industry with a 45% fail rate. That is, within 18 months, almost half of new hires are no longer with their companies. This is a huge pain point for companies, and legacy practices and technology have simply not done enough to fix it.

New employees can take one to two years to reach peak productivity, expanding the total cost impact of losing a key employee far beyond a simple multiple of their annual salary. In the end, every month that elapses between a high-value worker leaving the company and a new hire reaching full efficiency has a recurring cost.

The pain of failed hires is two-fold. It is terrible for companies’ morale and the costs are extreme. The Department of Labor estimates that this is a multi-billion dollar problem. This burden on the organization is more than simple lost revenue, however. Productivity will suffer when employees are tasked with picking up slack and may suffer from burnout, in addition to the impact mis-hires have on the company culture. It is equally painful for the talent themselves.  New hires may feel they are dropped in the deep end, unprepared and the company might require hiring two or more employees to replace the lost worker.

automation in talent acquisition

Long-Term Employee Retention Automation Benefits

Hiring and managing with the intent to retain employees long-term has multiple company-wide benefits. 

Reduced costs

Slash recruitment expenses to a primary cost of hiring for newly created positions instead of filling gaps left by employee turnover. By retaining employees, organizations also minimize:

  • onboarding expenses
  • severance payments
  • revenue loss due to lessened productivity
  • loss of trust due to weakened customer experience. 

Retention boosts morale

A company where employees never stay long can experience significant problems with morale, Teambuilding can seem like a waste of time when team members are constantly passing through a revolving door. Keeping employees “in the family” is good for morale, which is in turn good for productivity and employee engagement. 

Increased employee productivity

Long-term employees who have had years to increase their knowledge and hone their skill sets are more productive and make those surrounding them more productive as well. If hiring for long term is matched with incentives tied to longevity within the company, employees buy in more strongly and are more committed to the success of their employer and their team members. 

Better customer experience

The best retention strategies hinge on keeping employees happy. When employees are happy, customers are also happy. The link between employee satisfaction and customer experience is well documented.  

Employee retention improves company culture

Employees who are actively courted as part of a long-term retention strategy enjoy their workplace more. They feel valued, part of the larger picture, and that feeling flows from them to others around and below them in the company structure. The result is a higher quality company culture focused on support and recognition. 

Employee engagement and retention

Just as employee engagement leads to better retention, successful retention leads to higher levels of engagement. Employees who are highly engaged are 17% more likely to still be with a company a year later, and 18% more likely to “go the extra mile” for their organization.  

Businesses that focus on engaging their employees also experience lower absenteeism and higher profitability than companies that don't work to engage their employees.

Retention-Focused Hiring

Nearly one fourth of employee turnover costs are due to delays or products or services. Losing employees can mean losing customers. And simply plugging the gap with the next available worker might sound good in the short run, but not in the long run if that replacement employee isn’t a high-value, productive employee.

Retention-focused hiring needs to be a focus of hiring to help eliminate not only costs associated with production slowdown, but the costs of hiring, onboarding, and training yet another round of employees. 

Being able to spot candidates likely to wash out in the first six months of employment, and differentiate between them and employees more likely to stay the course can lead to increased retention and associated benefits. 

Employee churn, like customer churn, can often be predicted with a high rate of accuracy using data analytics to spot past patterns and model future ones. Using new hire data to evaluate quality of hire and likelihood of employee churn can mean making better hiring decisions in the future.

Nearly seven out of ten businesses say they are integrating data to build a people analytics database. By leaning on data gathered directly from employees using surveys powered by automation, businesses can learn to identify at risk employees before they quit, and model risk factors to take into account with future hires.

Recruitment practices are capable of strongly influencing turnover rates. Developing automated processes that streamline employee recruitment and shorten time to hire are key in building candidate respect for and trust in an organization.

Companies struggling with high employee turnover in the six to twelve months after hiring can implement more automation to constantly check in with and get a read on new hire satisfaction, heading off potential work-related issues at the pass and improving retention.

Finally, using reporting to track quality of hire for all new employees can help identify potential triggers for churn or attributes in candidates most likely to leave in their first year of employment. Candidate sourcing can be tweaked to help weed out these high risk candidates early in the recruitment process. 

In order to effectively target retention as a company-wide priority, the problem must be identified and recognized with top-down buy-in to the concept of addressing the issue. Without this critical step, attempts at rectifying employee turnover may well be fruitless.

Turnover analysis, benchmarking, and needs assessments can help shed light on where in the organization churn is happening most, what type of new talent is having high turnover (entry level, middle management, C-suite), when they leave (60 days, six months, a year), and why they walk away. 

Once the issues are identified and dissected, a plan of action can be created to improve retention. The plan can include broad-based and/or targeted strategies appropriate for the specific problem causing employee churn.

Reporting on new hires should be a cornerstone of any retention plan. Watching the lifecycle of employees is the best way to pinpoint what is causing them to leave, whether it’s an internal issue at the organization or a mismatch at candidate sourcing level. 

Crosschq Analytics continues to support automation throughout the onboarding process, and provides a foundation for employee retention with comprehensive reporting and easy to generate and deploy surveys to track new hire performance and satisfaction levels. 

It’s time to embrace automation in talent acquisition with onboarding processes that reduce the costs of recruitment and encourage retention. To learn more, request a free demo today.

Elena Arney

by Elena Arney

Director of People & Culture

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