The Advancing Leadership Blog

Hires that Stick: A Guide to Reducing Turnover, Improving Morale, and Cultivating Talent

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Dick Burke of Dick Burke Consulting.

No matter the size of your company, every new hire is a risk. A new employee means paying salary, benefits, taxes—not to mention a considerable investment of time and training.

What’s more, you don’t know if your hiring strategies will ultimately work. Many don’t. If you’ve encountered nothing but high turnover, low employee morale, and lackluster results from your hires, you know there must be a better way to build a high-functioning business team.

The main question: how?

In my prior article for vNacelle (published in November), I shared a few tips for writing a Performance-Based Job Description (PBJD) that cuts through ambiguity from the start. In this article, you’ll learn the other pieces of the puzzle that make up the PBJD and allow you to “follow through” on each hire to maximize your chances for success.

“You’ll See This Document Again”

The PBJD is not just a document used for inviting resume submissions. It’s a “living document.” It’s meant not only to define the job from the very outset, but to serve as a basis for evaluating your employees’ performance throughout their tenure.

One thing I tell my new hires as we discuss the PBJD is, “You’ll see this document again.” Too many hiring managers make the mistake of throwing out the job description once the hire has been made.

Upon hiring your new employee, you should ask them if there’s anything on the job description that they don’t think they can perform. In some cases, prospective employees will actually “self-select” and not move forward with the job interview process.

If they do think they can perform the job as described, you can have them read and sign it, with the full knowledge that the PBJD will be revisited at their next employee review.

The PBJD as an Evaluation Tool

Your PBJD is not meant to be ironclad and inflexible. If the PBJD sets the goal of improving sales by 10% over a quarter and your new employee fails to reach that goal, you can instead use the PBJD as a barometer of success. Instead of admonishing the employee for failure, you might instead say, “what can we do to help you get to 10%?”

Evaluating employees requires some skill. Failing to meet the goals of the PBJD may be due to external circumstances that the employee couldn’t control; in other cases, they may meet your goals while failing in other aspects of the job. As long as you use the PBJD that you and the employee agreed to as a measure—and not the final word—you’ll have a solid foundation for managing expectations properly.

Don’t Compromise the Quality of Your Team

One of the chief mistakes hiring managers make is allowing their frustration with the hiring process to affect their judgment. Rather than stick to their PBJD, they compromise their standards and assume “we’ll just train ‘em up!”

But if you do your hiring right at every step, you’ll never have to compromise the quality of your team. The clearer you are with your new hires and new employees—from the very beginning of the process on through—the faster you are able to accelerate through The Entrepreneurial Flight.

To learn more about the Entrepreneurial Flight, check out “Accelerate Your Entrepreneurial Flight,” available on, or visit

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