By: Robert Miller, Partner
Published: July 2015. Radford EMEA
Voluntary turnover data is of huge value to many companies. Aside from its power to justify and understanding the reasons behind workforce movements, it can also be used to build an understanding of the overall hiring environment. The sales force, in particular, is characterized by a more liquid state with turnover figures that are often more volatile than the overall population.
A quarter-by-quarter analysis of voluntary turnover in the sales population can be used as a proxy for understand the confidence of sales people in the job market. The chart below shows, for a group of countries, how voluntary turnover has shifted since 2010:
It is interesting to note that the UK has a habit of broadly tracking the US in terms of voluntary turnover, and in almost all quarters, both countries are showing a slight upward trend since the end of 2010. Conversely France and Germany, historically, are quite close in their numbers and both show lower turnover rates with a slight upturn over the past few quarters.
Russia, in stark contrast to the developed markets, shows a high degree of volatility with voluntary turnover dropping as low as 4% at the end of 2011 before spiking close to 14% at the beginning of 2012. That said, looking at quarter-by-quarter data reflects market movements, certainly, but also reflects seasonality in hiring patterns.
An alternative approach is to remove these effects by examining annual average voluntary turnover:
Arguably this presents a more robust view of the market. In this we can clearly see the upward trend of US voluntary turnover. We can also see that, aside from the slight dip in 2012 and 2013, the UK is at a 5 year high.
With an increase in voluntary turnover comes the need to stabilise the workforce. As is often the case, in high turnover situations, it is the top talent that is the first casualty. The usual drivers of engagement certainly apply (target setting, governance and upside) and our Sales Plan Audit helps companies diagnose the common ills leading to this position. As a general rule, however, there are some easy wins: sales contests, spiffs, leader boards as well as other initiatives such as president’s club memberships can have a surprisingly strong impact.
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