Oh the time to fill (TTF) metric…. such a timeless, useless metric used by most recruiting functions to sell their value. I’ve long had ambivalence towards this metric but lately, I’ve begun to respect it a little more. Time to fill can be a valuable insight but I have found most recruiting organizations only stop at measuring the length of time to fill a job. I think it’s stupid to track time to fill if you are not tracking your Quick Quit rate as well.
What is a Quick Quit Rate?
Quick Quits are those hires who leave within the first year shown as a percentage of hires lost at a certain point in the year.
I recently met with a group of recruiters at another firm who touted the reduction in their time to fill. They spent roughly ten minutes explaining how they made changes in the process to reduce their TTF by ten days. Don’t misunderstand, this is an accomplishment and should not be undervalued but it should not be the silver bullet when evaluating your recruiting effectiveness. I asked them what their quick quit rate looked like for the first year. I knew they wouldn’t know the number off the top so I gave them some time to research the rate and discussed during our next meeting.
As an organization, they were hovering around 24% which is not all together bad but also, not all together good. When they looked deeper, they noticed one department rate was close to 45%… now there’s a problem. I began asking some questions to the team to get them thinking about reasons why new hires were leaving so quickly. The leader of the group went back to celebrating their TTF metric as a success, clearly missing the point I was trying to help them see.
I’m not known for beating around the bush so I simply asked, “You want to sell to your internal client that you were able to reduce your TTF which effectively means you now can find the wrong fit for the role 45% of the time ten days quicker?
If an organization tracks new hire turnover or quick quit rates, it usually stops at the first year. I am a data nerd so I like to look at the 90 day, 180 day and the one year mark to better understand where I have issues. If I begin noticing an uptick in the 90 and 180 day mark, I stand a better chance of addressing the issue quickly rather than waiting until the end of the year.
Problem 1: The Cost
Turnover seems to vary by wage and role of employee. For example, a CAP study found average costs to replace an employee are: 16 percent of annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (earning under $30,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $10/hour retail employee would be $3,328. If you hire 100 employees at this rate and 45% of them leave within the first 180 days, it means your company is spending an estimated $149,760 in turnover costs every six months. That’s just the estimate though. Consider the hourly rate you pay a recruiter and that number grows exponentially.
Problem 2: The Brand
Services like Glassdoor and similar sites now allow employees and candidates to share their feedback on your company. I have noticed more candidates research the companies they apply for prior to the application which can be a major problem. If your quick quit rate is high, the number of negative reviews may further impact your recruiting efforts. Need an example?
One firm I reviewed on Glassdoor had an employee rate the firm as mediocre on a number of items. The comment this employee left on the site was a sucker punch to the employer branding and recruiting efforts for any reader who took the time to read the review. It was only one line in the testimony:
“It’s not a bad company but I do find it a little challenging that I have only been in this department for 8 months and I have the most tenure.”
Recruiters who do not obsess over the Quick Quit rate not only waste time and resources but also make their jobs even harder.
What do you do?
The first obvious step is track the metric. Remember to look at variations of the rate to include shorter time frames. This will give you more insight and the ability to react quicker to any problems before it’s too late.
Most HR Analytic platforms will track this for you as part of a standard offering within the product. If you do not have such a platform, start with a quarterly review in an excel worksheet. Be sure you have the hire date and end date in your columns. All you have to do is use an if statement to calculate your rate. Let’s say column A has your hire date and column B has your term date. The equation would look something like:
This just returns a 1 for every termination less than 90 days. You can then sum that column, divide it by the total number of hires for the month and there you go, your 90 day Quick Quit Rate. You can also add a more complex, embedded if/then equation but I’ll keep it simple for this post.
If you notice higher trends in certain areas, address them as a hiring team. Get with the hiring managers and the recruiters to determine why the employees left. This is why it is so imperative to have recruiting included in the exit survey data analysis. A simple review of the exit data will help you understand if the issue is with the hiring manager(s), the process, or something else. Each scenario will require a different action plan.
Metrics can sometimes be an optics game which is why I guess I’m so cynical. Try to think of your client and how they will process information when you evaluate the importance of any metric, most especially the time to fill. Tracking the quick quit rate will give you another insight into your process to determine how your group is really performing. The benefits of keeping the quick quit rate under control doesn’t stop at the cost savings for your company! Identifying and address these issues will also reduce the constant influx of jobs into the recruiter’s queue.
Who knows, if you can fix your quick quit rate, you might find yourself capacity to tackle more sexy recruiting projects!
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