Better Hiring, Team Building and Employee Retention

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The Problem

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."


"One of our sales trainers told me after we began using MRA that there are fewer people in our sales school who should not be there," said Steve. The goal was to rule people out - which was exactly what started happening for LTPC once MRA's program was implemented.

The interviewers were easily able to identify personalities that did not fit the job template. The traits they found that made a candidate more likely to be hired included things like being a risk taker, having high social skills, having a fairly low emotional requirement and not requiring a lot of hands-on management.

In this high turnover industry where the norm was approximately 80-90%, LTPC was able to reduce their turnover rate from 91% to 76%, which is a dramatic reduction and cost savings ($50,000 per mistake). "Hiring this year was more challenging, as we are in a full employment market," explained Steve, "yet we still came in below the industry standard for turnover.

"The interviewing, training, and mentoring time MRA has saved us in all areas of our organization by NOT hiring the wrong candidates has been both rewarding and profitable. We strongly recommend their services."

We are pleased that LTPC has experienced success, because they are now at an experimental level that will allow them to benefit further from advanced training. That training will include strengthening their abilities to manage specifically to the staff's differing leadership needs, and how to construct their final interviews to either confirm or discard various pieces of information that can be gleaned from the profile.

Larry Sartor, MRA

It's As Simple As One, Two, Three

1. Job candidates or existing employees go to our web site and complete the profile exercises.

2. We respond immediately with reports designed for hiring, sales support, learning styles and advice for the manager.

3. MRA provides on-going support in team building, refining your hiring procedures and manager training.

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