Collector - May 2018 - 12
Having trouble retaining talented staff? Defined career
paths can help them see a future with your company.
By Anne Rosso May
hen CBE Companies has a
vacant mid- to upper-level
position, the hiring manager's
first move is not to post an ad online.
Instead, the company starts by looking at
In fact, most of CBE's directors and
managers-as well as some of its vice
presidents-started out as collectors at
the company and have grown through the
ranks over time.
Kelli Krueger, vice president of
organizational development and training
for CBE Companies, is among that group,
and she espoused the company's longtime
philosophy that it's best to try to promote
from within whenever possible.
"Think about this: when you interview
someone externally, you maybe get a
two-hour snapshot of their personality
and they are only showing the best of
themselves," Krueger said. "But when you
look at an internal candidate, you already
know their history-their successes as
well as the mistakes they've made. Plus
they already understand our policies and
procedures, our core values and how we
There are financial benefits to this strategy,
too. A recent Work Institute report on
employee retention trends determined that
the average cost of turnover per employee
is $15,000, based on a median U.S. worker's
salary of $45,000.
And a 2012 study by Wharton School
professor Matthew Bidwell, Ph.D., found that
external hires got paid more than internally
promoted candidates while receiving
significantly lower marks in performance
reviews in their first two years on the job.
Not only do career paths nurture rising
stars within your company, but they also
encourage leaders to develop their team
members' skills, helping to build a solid
bench when it's time to promote workers
ready for new challenges. This in turn can set
the stage for success when employees ascend
to new leadership levels.
"It's much easier to be successful in your
role when you know what every single role
beneath you is going through," Krueger said.
Ready to get started? Here are three tips
you can use to help establish career paths in
your own company.
1. SET EXPECTATIONS FROM
Start the conversation about career paths
in applicant interviews by asking, "What's
your career plan?"
No matter what the candidate says-"I'm
saving up to go to vet tech school," "I'd like to
be in a management position eventually," or
even "I'm not sure"-follow-up by explaining
the opportunities the candidate can achieve
within your company over time and stress
your preference to promote from within.
"By articulating a career path we help
paint the picture of what a career can look
like with us," said G. Scott Purcell, president
of Professional Credit. "That helps potential
employees as they know there is a place to
take their careers. They also know precisely
what to do in order to achieve greater
earnings potential as well, and they know
that up front."
Krueger explains to candidates that CBE
is a "feedback organization" and asks them
to talk about their own experience giving
and receiving feedback. "We want people
to be comfortable having those crucial
conversations," she said, noting that the
ability to accept constructive criticism is
an essential part of developing as a leader.
Make the possibilities personal by sharing
some inspirational stories of how your senior
leaders have come up through the ranks.
In CBE's new hire training, a member of
the management team stops by to speak to
employees about their own career path, often
noting, "I started in the same seat you're
sitting in right now."
2. BREAK DOWN THE
ROUTE TO SUCCESS
To create career paths, you'll need to
take a close look at the structure of your
organization and how different roles
fit into each level of that leadership
grid. By clearly defining what skills
and experience are necessary for each
position, employees can see how they can
rise through the ranks.
For example, Professional Credit has
created very defined career paths for
its legal, client success, account and IT
positions, including job titles and earning
grades, and the company's collectors have
four progressive roles they can achieve.
Department leaders are responsible
for developing each job classification,
promotion criteria and job description,
which are then approved by human
resources and the company president.