How to Stop Employee Turnover

Ask a Recruiter - Employer Q&A

Ask a Recruiter

Q: It seems like we’re stuck in a cycle of hiring administrative staff and then having to replace them within two years. We do our best to make the job interesting — should we change something about our approach? Hire candidates who already have industry experience, so they’ll be more engaged?

A: In our experience, having industry experience doesn’t necessarily translate to longevity — it’s been a long time since we’ve placed a career Administrative Assistant. Most employees will stay in a role if they, like you said, feel the role is interesting and there is growth potential — which can be a challenge to provide in a purely administrative role.  

Generally, we see more attrition for all early career roles, but the more you focus on the growth aspects, by giving stretch projects or more responsibilities, along with regular recognition, the longer a person is likely to stay. We often advise clients to see these types of roles as growth pipelines, where you can promote from within, even if you’ll eventually have to refill them.  

One of our favorite clients hires Receptionists with the intention of growing and promoting them to Legal Assistants after a couple of years. At Boly:Welch, our excellent Front Office Manager stayed in the role for almost 8 years because she was given more office management responsibilities, trained and supervised contract receptionists, and was given regular raises. And even then, the only way we ultimately retained her was to promote her into a Recruiter role.  

Expectations around growth in administrative jobs have changed. You’ll see more long-term success if you don’t view attrition as negative, but rather as an opportunity to grow and retain your team!  

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