Please Note: I originally published this article in 2006 and it is as relevant today as ever.
The High Cost of Employee Turnover
Mike Ullman, the CEO of J.C. Penny since late 2004, estimates the company has saved over $400 million annually by implementing programs to reduce the turnover of valuable talent. Mike has further quantified this cost per employee leaving. Each one costs J.C. Penny about one third of that employee’s annual salary to replace.
If J.C. Penny only loses one third of the cost of an employee’s annual salary when they leave and need to be replaced, they are fortunate. I have seen huge costs associated with employee turnover including the cost of recruiting, training and relocation. There are also the less obvious costs of lost productivity, lost sales and a loss of control of assets.
J.C. Penny operates fairly large format stores supported by district and regional managers. In theory, if a person leaves there is a backup to cover the business while a replacement is found. The reality is that even in that situation productivity is compromised and customer service standards are at risk.
Consider a smaller format store with local or regional retail chain. Often the only backup is none or maybe the owner. I have seen many instances where a store cannot open because of inadequate staffing. When this happens too often, the customer base loses confidence and the profits decline to a point where a store may have to close. Look at the transportation industry where there continues to be an acute shortage of drivers. How many freight companies are losing revenue because they simply do not have enough drivers for their equipment?
In each of these examples, the cost of replacing an employee is far greater than 30% of the departing employee’s annual salary.
In one of the modules of my FREE course How To Increase Profits by 30% or More in 90 Days or Less, I cover key ways to minimize the turnover of valuable people. One is to make sure you do not retain and nurture mediocre performers. That is a major negative influence on talented staff. Another is to clearly define and communicate company performance goals in terms of how they relate to a person’s job and then answer the question “WIIFM” or What Is In It For Me?
Mike Ullman is right on point focusing on the company’s number 2 asset. Employees in retail and many other industries are key to developing a company’s number 1 asset which, of course, is it’s customers. If you know Mike, please compliment him on J.C. Penny’s vastly improved performance and please ask him to visit www.localretailmarketing.com which is a program that will definitely help him grow profits by customer.
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About: Steve Pohlit CPA,MBA has been the CFO and COO of major domestic and international companies. Steve has extensive business ownership experience having purchased and started off line and on line businesses. Steve offers his business building experience to companies and entrepreneurs with business coaching and business consulting. His focus is on building business profits and net asset value at above average rates. All articles published by Steve unless specifically restricted may be freely published with this resource information.