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Reducing Turnover
by Michael C. Dennis M.B.A., C.B.F.

One question I received this month lends itself to a more detailed answer than is customary for the Questions and Answers section.

Here is the question:

Two individuals hired this year as collectors have already quit. This is unacceptable to me and to the company. Their exit interviews did not provide any specific feedback about why they were leaving other than they had found a “better” job elsewhere. We screen applicants very carefully. We offer competitive compensation and good benefits. What else can I do to reduce turnover in the credit department?

I believe that some credit managers spend a great deal of time, effort and energy in finding the right candidates but do not focus enough attention on them after they are hired. For example:

  • The workspace is not ready

  • They do not have a computer

  • They have a computer but do not have passwords

  • They are not assigned a mentor

  • There is no formal training program

  • They do not meet often enough with the credit manager

  • They do not receive enough feedback about their job performance

  • The credit manager does not do everything he or she can to protect them from problems such as aggressive salespeople

Some ideas to reduce turnover include:

  • Counsel regularly and honestly discussing performance shortfalls and successes

  • The collection function can be high stress involving daily quotas and monthly collection targets. It is important to allow subordinates to blow off steam once in a while

  • Provide your subordinates with timely and useful information

  • Don’t forget things that are important to your subordinates including their birthdays and the anniversary dates of their employment

  • Work with your subordinates to remove barriers that prevent them from being more effective

  • Promote from within whenever possible. If a subordinate expresses an interest in a promotion, look long and hard at their qualifications before considering bringing in someone new from the outside

  • Make it comfortable for people to meet with you to discuss their concerns and problems

  • If you have a subordinate manager whose style of management is not to your liking, you have an obligation to the rest of the department to address the problem with the manager and to make certain that his or her management style changes

  • Find and correct the root causes of problems rather than spending time looking for someone to blame when things go wrong

  • Become an active listener. Before responding to a question or a comment, an active listener often restates or paraphrases a message they receive to verify that they have understood it completely

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