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Attrition reduction efforts advance, deliver results

It's not just recruiting that's getting all the attention in HR. Attrition reduction strategies are gaining ground, as are efforts to improve health and wellness.

LAS VEGAS -- As employers work to improve recruiting, attrition reduction strategies are also emerging. This is an HR area that is gaining attention from some users, including Schneider Electric.

Schneider's employee exit surveys reported that 47% of employees who left "were leaving because they could not find their next career opportunity within Schneider," said Andrew Saidy, vice president of talent digitization at Schneider.

Schneider's turnover rate is around 8%, "which is not huge, but 8% of 150,000 is a lot of employees," Saidy said during a presentation at the HR Technology Conference & Expo.

The company estimated about $600 million in costs associated with the exiting employees, he said. The France-based firm produces products and services for energy management and industrial automation. 

In response, Schneider created Open Talent Market, a marketplace for employees to find another full-time job within Schneider. The attrition reduction effort also includes help to find a mentor along with career development assistance. 

AI learns user preferences

Schneider's platform is from Gloat, an Israeli-based start-up.Like a consumer dating app, employees swipe right or left to select options. Gloat's product uses AI to personalize learning and career opportunities. "Based on your preferences, the machine learns, and you start getting more of the things that you like," Saidy said.

The attrition reduction system was rolled out last September, and now reaches about 25% of the workforce. The early stage results show retention and engagement levels rising, Saidy said in an interview with

Josh Bersin, an independent HR analyst, told attendees that "talent mobility," another way of describing Schneider's attrition reduction effort, is an up-and-coming area in HR tech. "This is going to be a big space over the next couple of years," he said at the conference.

This is going to be a big space over the next couple of years.
Josh BersinIndependent analyst

Because of the labor market, companies have largely invested in recruiting technology, Bersin said. But other areas, including health and wellbeing as well as talent mobility, are gaining interest.

"Wellbeing is no longer a health and wellness thing; it's a performance thing, it's an engagement thing," Bersin said.

One industry that may benefit from health and wellness improvements is trucking.

Lynden Inc., a Seattle-based trucking and air freight firm, has about 3,000 employees, and about a third of them are truckers. It also operates a headquarters in Anchorage.

There is an overall shortage of truck drivers, said Gail Knapp, vice president of employee relations and business development. She cited industry data pointing to about 90% in annual turnover. Compounding this problem is the older age of many truckers.

"We are losing truck drivers for health-related reasons," Knapp said, adding that truck drivers have to pass a physical every two years. "We're seeing more and more truck drivers in our company that are unable to renew their commercial licenses because of health reasons."

The firm recently created a pilot health program with a professional trainer. The average driver participating in the pilot program lost 20 pounds, Knapp said during the conference presentation.

Attrition reduction steps

Lynden took several attrition reduction steps, which included providing more predictable scheduling. But one thing Knapp believed important was an HR platform adopted for mobile. It's been working with iCIMS, an HR applications vendor.

Knapp's mobile push faced resistance. The operations team at Lynden didn't think mobile improvements would help. The argument was that "truck drivers are not technically savvy," she said.

Knapp said they were able to make the case to optimize applications for mobile by running analytics against its online sites.

"What we found is that drivers are very tech savvy with their phones, and that's how they're contacting us," Knapp said .

Lynden also reduced the initial job application process to five minutes or less, and that has driven a 40% increase in applications that come through the mobile platform.

"We're seeing a lot more candidates come through as a result," Knapp said. The annual attrition rate is now at about 29%, which got the applause of the audience, but Knapp said she hopes to do better.

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