Roberta Matuson
Identify the best talent in the world.
  • Identify
  • Acquire
  • Nurture
  • Retain

Roberta's Recent Publications

The Magnetic Leader

Employees don’t work for companies; they work for people. The more irresistible you are as a leader, the more pull you have for employees to want to stay and for your customers to remain loyal. Read Excerpt

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Roberta's Recent Publications

Talent Magnetism

Your company is only as good as the talent you keep. Learn the new rules for attracting top talent and getting them to stick around. Excerpt

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Roberta's Recent Publications

Suddenly in Charge

Honored by the Washington Post as a Top 5 Business Book for Leaders.

Learn how to manage up, down, and succeed all around... Excerpt

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Roberta's Recent Publications

Suddenly in Charge

Learn how to save your company millions by improving the quality of your hires, while improving productivity. Slash costly employee turnover.

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Do You Want Dessert With That Turnover?

What would your waistline look like if every time you ordered a meal you added dessert? If you were like most people, it wouldn't be long before you needed to purchase larger clothes. Eventually you might reach the point where you realized the answer to your tight fitting jeans was in front of you all along.

Like waistlines all across America, employee turnover is expanding at an alarming rate. Yet companies are still following the same regimen, hoping to control their expanding costs. Is your company's recruitment budget bulging because your turnover costs are out of control? How much are you wasting on satisfying your short-term needs? If you knew you could shave hundreds of thousands of dollars off your recruitment and hiring costs, would you be willing to try a new approach?

The cost of turnover

The time has come to take a closer look at what's causing the expansion of your recruiting budget. While companies know replacing an employee costs considerable time, energy and lost productivity, few can put a dollar figure on the actual cost. Lack of hard data means investments in retention and recruitment programs get placed on the back burner.

Cost of turnover estimates for a single position range from 30 percent of the yearly salary for hourly employees (Cornell University) to 150 percent, as estimated by the Saratoga Institute. The McQuaig Institute puts this into terms that most of us can relate to. A fast food restaurant must sell 7,613 children's combo meals at $2.50 each to recoup the cost of losing just one crewmember. To recoup the cost of losing just one sales clerk, a clothing store must sell almost 3,000 pairs of khakis at $35. How many of your products or services must you sell to make up for one employee?

These examples represent the cost of turnover, which encompasses replacement costs, training costs, separation costs and lost productivity. You may be thinking that positions in your company are considerably more sophisticated than those found in fast food restaurants or retail organizations and that it's impossible to come up with a number. But even an approximate number is better than no number at all.

Calculating your cost of turnover

If you feel overweight, you know how awful it can be to step on the scale after avoiding it for so long. You might be lucky and be in better shape than you think. Like losing weight, it can be painful to take that first step. But once you do, you will feel empowered knowing that you are one step closer to getting your organization back into shape.

Calculating your cost of turnover is simpler than you think. Begin by looking at everyone who has left your organization this year. If you want to capture a full year's worth of information, consider capturing the data for those who left the company the previous year as well. The business costs and impact of employee turnover can be grouped into four major categories: 1) costs due to a person leaving; 2) hiring costs; 3) training costs; and 4) lost productivity costs.

Costs due to a person leaving

Once an employee has announced their resignation, they have begun to transition out of the company. While working out their notice period, their full attention is no longer on your business. Others in the organization are picking up their slack, which prohibits them from giving full attention to their own jobs.

In addition, consider the following costs:

  • Employees who must fill in for the person who leaves before a replacement is found;
  • The addition of temporary help or the use of consultants to fill in while the position is being re-staffed;
  • The cost of a manager or other executive having an exit interview with the employee to determine what work remains, how to do the work, why he is leaving, etc.;
  • The cost of training the company has invested in this departing employee; the cost of lost knowledge, skills and contacts of the departing employee;
  • Cost of lost customers the departing employee is taking with him (or that leave because service is negatively impacted) and;
  • The increased cost of unemployment insurance.

Hiring Costs

You might be lucky and find a candidate on a free website, but most likely you will need to post and advertise elsewhere.

Consider the following hiring costs:

  • The cost of advertising, internet posting, employment agencies, search firms, employee referral awards;
  • Increase in starting pay as salaries have risen since you last hired, bringing everyone else in the department up to market rates;
  • Time spent screening resumes, arranging interviews, conducting interviews (by both HR and upper management), checking references and notifying candidates who were not awarded the job;
  • The use of assessment testing, background checks, drug screening (usually done on more than one candidate) and time spent interpreting and discussing results;
  • Time spent assembling and processing all the new hire paperwork, explaining your employee benefit programs and entering the necessary data to ensure the employee receives a paycheck.

Training costs

It would be nice if employees were able to integrate into their organizations without any training, but usually this is not the case. Things are done differently in every organization so you must factor in the following costs:

  • New employee orientation or onboarding;
  • Specific training for the person to do his job, such as computer training, product knowledge, company systems;
  • Time spent by others to train this person and money spent on outside training to ensure they are able to do their jobs.

Loss of productivity costs

Because new employees do not enter the organization completely trained, it will take time before they are fully productive.

Factor in the following productivity costs:

  • During this time of lost productivity, the person's manager is also spending more time directing, reviewing work and possibly fixing mistakes. (Errors will be made that are not caught right away and will cost money to correct down the line such as with a customer who receives an incorrect price or an incorrect shipment due to the new employee's lack of experience);
  • Add loss of goodwill as you scramble to preserve your relationship with your valued customer or client;
  • Employee moral plummeting as overworked employees assume responsibility while the new hired is being trained.

Now that you've closely examined the costs associated with each person leaving you can then plug this information into a spreadsheet to determine the real cost of employee turnover in your organization. How do you measure up? Are you in better shape than you thought? Or is it time for an intervention?

Given the high costs involved and the impact on productivity and customer retention, a well thought-out retention program can easily pay for itself over and over again. Employee turnover is a lot like eating dark chocolate. In moderation, both are fine and can even be healthy. In excess, both can have serious ramifications. Are you still interested in ordering dessert?


"Roberta's guidance has dramatically increased my ability to pull in and retain the talent we need to take our organization to the next level. She's proven to be a trusted advisor and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her to other CEOs who are looking to accelerate..."
Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO
Mass Leadership Technology Council

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"The coaching that Roberta Matuson provided for one of our retail store managers renewed the manager’s excitement in her work, provided her with increased skills in the selection of new employees and gave her the tools she needed to better manage her staff..."
Mary G. Rahal, VP, Human Resources and Administration
Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc.

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"Roberta was able to clearly define our project objectives and the methodology that we needed to reach those objectives. Roberta helped us pinpoint the root cause of our problem by using in-depth probing techniques that gave her access to important data we did not have..."
Amy Waryas, Director, HR
The Boston Beer Company

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"Roberta worked with us to create a comprehensive onboarding program. With her guidance, knowledge, and expert HR advise we have successfully launched our company-wide training initiative. We now assimilate new hires into the company more effectively than ever..."
Ted Winston, Co-Owner
Winston Flowers

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"When it comes to management of people, Roberta sees through all the noise and gets right to the heart of the matter..."
Mark Spitzer, President
Photonic Glass Corporation

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"As we have grown, Roberta has provided continued support to help us work through complicated personnel issues while allowing us to focus on other areas of our business. Our employment practices truly support our business goals..."
Paul M. Zavracky, Ph.D., Former President and COO
MicroOptical Corporation

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"Roberta has saved us time and energy on situations we may have needlessly wrestled with. We consider her a partner and look for her guidance often. Roberta has provided a welcomed service to Six Red Marbles..."
Sarah Smith White, President
Six Red Marbles

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"Roberta was tenacious about keeping us focused on completing our project on schedule. The finished project was comprehensive, professional and passed the scrutiny of legal experts. I would definitely use Matuson Consulting again..."
John Blake, Former COO
Advanced Results Marketing

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"Roberta has been a tremendous mentor and coach to me over the past year. She has partnered with me on multiple professional development fronts, as well as helping me through some very challenging situations. I found Roberta to be wise counsel!"
– Allison DiSiena, VP of Recruiting, Marketing, Interactive and Creative Services Division, 24 Seven Inc.

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"Roberta Matuson was our answer. She met with us, developed a plan, walked us through the process to record our policies and procedures. She helped identify areas where policies were non-existent. She then developed and produced our employee handbook. We still use it today..."
Tim Slattery, CEO

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"Roberta presented an engaging and informative webinar on “Managing Up in a Top Down World” for Northeastern University’s alumni. This thought provoking session provided practical strategies for navigating office politics and building effective relationships for career advancement. Roberta’s extensive expertise and knowledge of workplace trends was apparent as she skillfully answered a wide range of questions from participants. Her well-organized presentation made it easy for the audience to commit to implementing her advice."
Michele Rapp, Associate Director
Northeastern University

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"Roberta’s ability to provide new leaders with insights on matters that few are willing to discuss is refreshing and will serve our members well. As a CEO, I'm especially impressed with her ability to quickly distill difficult situations and provide pragmatic advice that can be quickly and successfully implemented."
Aradhna Malhotra Oliphant, President and CEO
Leadership Pittsburgh Inc.

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"I have had the opportunity to experience Roberta Matuson’s “fast track” coaching. Her candid, succinct and concise approach provided positive reinforcement toward my professional goals."
Cheryl Schondek, VP of Food Acquisition and Supply Chain
The Greater Boston Food Bank

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Talent & Your Bottom Line: The Employee Turnover Calculator

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