Steve Counts, the Senior Vice President for LTPC was responsible for all recruiting
and training of sales personnel. "Our turnover rate was 91% in an industry that
has an 80-90% turnover rate." It was a major cost,
and also affected morale, making it difficult to make long-term plans."
The hiring process included flying and housing new recruits out-of-state
to attend training. After training, they were given all the necessary
equipment to sell the product. All these expenses made
the turnover rate financially devastating.
LTPC attributed the particularly high turnover rate to four factors:
It takes some time for agents to realize
their financial potential in the long-term
healthcare sales field. There is a significnt lag before top compensation is received.
Our sales force is also spread out without
direct supervision. "Sales
people have a lot of free time, " said Counts, which can be a difficult adjustment
if that individual's personality is not suited for an unstructured environment.
The product is relatively new. Everyone who buys long term care insurance is a first time
buyer, making it a more difficult product to sell.
The sales people are paid on straight commission.
Bringing in the Expert
Steve Counts began to look for an outside firm to
reduce their turnover. Steve selected
Larry Sartor and his team of professionals at MRA Enterprises, Inc. "There were several
programs out there, but Larry's was the only high-quality system that allowed us to measure
the results ourselves," said Steve.
"Our hiring process can be as
fast as 24 hours. Other programs' grading systems were outsourced, creating
a bottleneck. We needed a 'quick results' process," explained Steve.
LTPC was looking for a system that would do one primary thing - rule people out.
they needed to identify those who had little chance to succeed before any were put through the
expensive sales training. "We did not want to hire candidates,
only to have them fail because we were not careful", Steve said.
The first step in reaching this goal was determining what made a good candidate. MRA's
Larry Sartor began by reverse engineering. MRA began profiling the most successful sales people
and determining "shared" characteristics of the high-performance sales staff. Having a
model of what a successful candidate "looked like"
helped create a template for interviewing. Then, the recruiters were put through the MRA
training program so they would know how to identify high-potential candidates.
Steve Counts says,"We became better interviewers by improving follow-up
interviews. We could verify MRA Profile results with second interviews and confirm
the personality types," said Steve. As for the recruiters' opinion of the new
system, Steve says, "They love it." They no longer have only their
gut feeling from an interview and resumes. By adding
the MRA profiling program to our existing selection techniques, we can really
select the right type of person for the job.
"For example, before using MRA, we hired some candidates who were fantastic in an
interview, but their personality profile later showed that they were 'group-workers',
requiring more structured leadership in a reinforcing environment. In this industry,
the person who can work independently and is self-motivated in an unstructured
environment is the best fit for the job.
"We are reducing turnover costs by not hiring the wrong people," explained Steve.
"We find people whose profiles better match the profiles of our successful
people. That also gives them
a better chance to experience success. [That's] hard
to determine from just a resume or interview."