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Are you making a return on your recruitment and onboarding investments?

Written by Adam Campbell, 29 May 2024

“….according to the CIPD, it costs on average between £1,000 and £3,000 to recruit a new person (clearly higher for senior roles)."

Twenty years ago, I was in the process of completing my MBA. At about this time of year, all 142 students were looking for jobs, attending multiple interviews and taking on new roles. One of these colleagues was starting a business focused on pre-employment background checks. I offered to write his marketing brochure and he became my first post-MBA consulting client. It is worth noting that his business ( has gone on to become incredibly successful – more through his leadership, and the huge volume of employment background checks they undertake, than my brochure (although it did see them through the first 10 years!).What struck me at the time, and in recent conversations (including a text from someone who is leaving his role just four months in) is the immense effort and investment that goes into recruiting and onboarding a person into an organisation. And the costs of getting this wrong.

A quick Google search reveals that, according to the CIPD, it costs on average between £1,000 and £3,000 to recruit a new person (clearly, higher for senior roles). Organisations also claim that it is now harder to retain talent and most don’t calculate the cost of their labour turnover. Next on the Google search, captured in an article by People Management a survey of 1,000 people revealed that:

  • 30% have had their heads turned elsewhere after a job offer because of poor follow up

  • 41% said that they had quit a job in the first six months

  • 32% said they would have got up to speed faster if they knew what was expected of them

  • 24% would have appreciated more regular check-ins with their managers

  • 38% were looking for more training.


Being the geek that I am, I quickly calculated that the hiring organisations spent c.£1m for the above 142 MBA graduates to get a job. What alarmed me is that over half of this cost was likely the result of poor onboarding.  All of this is before we take account of the impact and lost potential from the organisation while this is going on.

Rough calculations are all very well – damned lies and statistics – but what of the real world?

Well, I was delighted to learn in a conversation with our strategic partner, Prosell, how they help clients to improve their onboarding processes reducing attrition by 35% and performance by 25%. ‘What if we could help all our clients with this?’, I thought. ‘Surely an essential element of sustainable success’, I concluded.

Read on to discover the fit with the Telos Seven Elements of Sustainable Success and our strategic partnership with Prosell.

Alignment – the sixth element

The Telos Seven Elements of Sustainable Success (see diagram below) capture our 25+ years’ experience of working with senior leaders to shape, initiate, embed, accelerate, and respond to change. The sixth element, Alignment (not Carbon, nor the 1997 Bruce Willis film!), shares the learning on how to strike the right balance between aligning structure, processes and behaviours with the new direction across the organisation. The emphasis on behaviours is key,after all, it is what people do that matters. When working with clients at this stage of strategy execution, we are often asked to help to ensure that the desired mindset and behaviours (those that link purpose and values with vision, strategy and commercial success) are embedded in key recruitment, onboarding, development, performance management and reward and recognition systems.


Our strategic partnership – Telos Partners and Prosell

We have a long-standing relationship with Prosell and over the years have worked together on some of the same clients. At the start of 2024, we took the decision to work together in a much more deliberate and integrated way. Prosell excel in the alignment space, particularly in sales and customer service environments. Their performance coaching and onboarding services and platform have helped clients to:

  • Grow average order value by 36%

  • Increase customer retention by 47%

  • Improve in Net Promoter Score by 11%

  • Reduce employee attrition by 39%

It is the focus on relationships, behaviour and performance that forms the bond between us. Together, we are excited about the opportunity to better help our clients succeed as they shape and execute their strategy, transform their organisation and realise the potential of their organisation.


So, back to my original question ‘are you really making a return on your recruitment, onboarding and development investments?’

We’d welcome the opportunity to learn about your onboarding challenges and how we can add value.

To discover more about this combined approach, sales and customer service performance coaching ( or the onboarding platform (, please get in touch with either De-Ann De Chausay ( or Adam Campbell (


Adam Campbell is Senior Partner at Telos Partners, an advisory business focused on long term business success.


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