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Loss of People

Loss of People

At one time in my career when you heard the term “headhunter”, it was a bit of an anomaly. It was met with thoughts of mysterious meetings in dark secret places, of these unknown people working under the radar to poach your top talent. 

Today talent acquisition, recruiters, and headhunters are mainstream and a part of a corporate infrastructure. They are embedded into the business as an essential element.

And they are everywhere on Linked In.

They serve a purpose, so don’t take this as a slam against the industry. It is big business and there’s no stopping them. Why, because people simply come and go and we need to back-fill fast to keep the engine running.

But when you stop to consider why the recruiting industry is so lucrative, one must wonder if they are as busy as they are because employers don’t treat their human assets as well as they do their merchandise. They don’t simply come and go, don’t they? But we know – people quit people.

Because we are in retail, we know having the merchandise at the right time, in the right place is critical. We react with a high sense of urgency when there is a loss. We conduct a root cause analysis to find out how, and why, so we can take corrective action and stop the bleeding. We can feel the results of the loss when the shrinkage number is reported, and it hurts.

And that’s not even cash – cash loss hurts 10 fold.

But when we lose talent – good talent, the sense of urgency is different. It has become routine. We have been desensitized. And recruiters are but a phone call away to fix the problem.

Bosses blame the person for fear of admitting the person left them. We treat a resignation as a one-off, we say it is “churn”. We do all of the things that our emotions cause us to do, but we don’t stop and consider the why. 

And in the heat of the moment, we call a recruiter to bail us out, to find the replacement, and find them fast.

Understanding the value of your human assets and using them for what they can contribute to the overall organization should be part of any retention program. maximizing your assets should be as important to a business as protecting their merchandise. 

Try this for yourself. 

Think about the last time you were near a manager when somebody told them that $100 dollars was missing from the register. ALL HANDS ON DECK!!! what happened?? There’s a thief!! Call Security – nobody goes home until this money is found!!!!

Now think about the same manager when they were told Suzie Q resigned. The response may have been more like “did she at least give us her 2 weeks notice?” Let’s call the recruiter and find someone else. (Little did you know Suzie Q had an MBA!).

So here’s the bottom line.

A loss of $100 is met with a higher sense of urgency than the loss of the employee because it is tangible, and the value is top of mind. The loss of the employee? How much was that?

CDN $1636* 


Yes, that’s the average replacement cost of an employee leaving as found in a study by the Association for Talent Development. 

So the next time you lose a Suzie Q, treat it like it’s a $1636 theft from the register. Treat it like you messed up. Find out why, and stop the bleeding. 

Then call the recruiter.

*converted to Canadian for my Canadian audience


Hello, I'm Stephen O'Keefe. The information you read here is intended to help businesses answer some of the tough questions about everyday events in the retail environment. After spending over 3 decades in this industry we've seen a lot!
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About Stephen O'Keefe

As an independent consultant I leverage my experience and knowledge to help a number of companies achieve results. Clients range from non-retailers looking for guidance to serve their retail customer, to retailers looking for quick solutions to unique and costly problems, right to the Industry Association. Bottom line Matters!

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