Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

It Costs a Lot to Lose an Employee

January 29, 2018

by Robert Stevenson

When a company loses an employee, they should do some serious soul searching as to why that person left. Why, you may be asking? Because, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, they have estimated that every time a business has to replace a salaried employee, it costs the company, on average, 6 to 9 months' salary. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that's $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses; that is a lot of money.

I recently had the opportunity to work for F.A. Bartlett Tree Company. This was the third time I have spoken for them, so I have come to understand what makes them so successful. The average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company or its equivalent is 40 years; Bartlett has been in business for 110 years, so they are approaching three times industry averages for corporate life expectancy.

With over 1,500 employees, Bartlett understands that a high employee turnover ratio can be very costly to any company so, they do everything they can to insure the continued employment of the people they have working for them; they have over 23 people who have been with the company for more than 50 years. Their objective is to maintain a work environment that will not only enhance their company but their people as well. Their secret formula for success is making sure their employees are treated right. During the last recession they grew by more than 10%. I’d say treating employees right is working for them.

According to some industry experts, 72% of ALL U.S. workers are unlikely to invest ANY discretionary effort in company goals or outcomes. How can you correct that problem? Well, take a lesson from the J.M. Smuckers Company, who from 2004 to 2017, grew from $600 million to $7.39 billion. They also grew profits by 800%. They believe the way you keep great employees is to:

  • always say thank you for a job well done
  • listen with your full attention
  • look for “the good” in others
  • have a sense of humor
  • provide a set of guiding principles.

The Plant Supervisor for their Smuckers Orville Plant stated: “I’ve been thanked more in the one year I’ve worked here than in the 9 years I spent in my last job.” Just another example of a great company who knows how to treat their employees.

When it comes to treating employees right … recognition and creating camaraderie should be at the top of your list if you intend to keep highly motivated and productive employees. I am sure you have heard the statement, “People don’t leave companies, they leave bosses.” Unfortunately, that is true. So, when an employee leaves, you need to be asking yourself, what has been done (or not done) to cause them to leave?

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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