Archive for the ‘Corporate Blog’ Category

Future Proofing Graduate Recruitment

Friday, August 1st, 2014
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Recently there have been a number of reports stating the difficulty that employers are having when it comes to filling graduate roles. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by recruiters and the PPS Graduate Recruitment Team has gradsblogcertainly seen a change in the market over recent years.

The AGR did predict a rise in the number of roles available from 2013-2014 and it seems that their estimates were credible. But what can employers do to ensure that there is interest in their graduate roles and schemes?

Graduates are becoming more sophisticated, no longer will a pen and free key ring gain you, well, anything! Graduates want more and this may be in terms of good freebies but they are also looking for the perfect job, in the perfect company and so selling “you” is becoming ever more vital.

A crucial element of graduate recruitment is starting early. It is difficult to succeed without solid foundations, and as any building needs a solid base, the interest of graduates needs to be attained at the earliest possible stage.  It’s not about trotting into a class full of final year students with some jelly beans and car stickers, it’s about playing the long game, putting the time in and ensuring that first year graduates know about you and the opportunities you have. Brand awareness is the new free key ring!

Companies such as Thales are already putting this in to practice and visiting students in their first year of University. What could be a better way of gaining their attention? They know who you are instantly, they know about your graduate scheme and there is a sense of familiarity almost 3 years before they begin looking for their first job after graduating.

Do you get to know your graduates? Here at PPS we are committed to frequently engaging with our candidates. Whether that be via an email, a prep call or an SMS, we are constantly connecting with them and creating a two way relationship which enables them to talk to us as much as we talk to them!

We are using technology to our advantage, we recently hosted a very successful Twitter Q&A campaign which enabled us to instantly connect and engage with candidates. Click here to find out how we did it.

Whilst this was hugely beneficial to the recruitment process, we cannot forget that the power is in the people and whilst technology is only going to get more important (98% of graduates apply online for a job), don’t forget how valuable a phone call can be or an on campus student ambassador who can shout about how great you are.

Graduates are gaining power. They know that 23% of employers had unfilled vacancies in 2013-2014. They know we want them, and they know we will work hard to get them on board. As the pool of graduates gets tighter, competition rises and attracting graduates will be an ever increasing challenge.

We aren’t going to be left behind, are you?

Sally Parsons

Written by Sally Parsons

Graduate Recruiter at PPS Works




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Top 3 reasons for people leaving their jobs

Friday, July 18th, 2014
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At PPS we conduct exit interviews for our clients across a range of industry sectors.  As a third party company providing this service we get the real reasons, not the ’safe’ reason a leaver would give to their Manager or HR exitprofessional face to face who is working internally for the company.

Exit interviews can tell us so much about why people leave their job and also valuable information about improvements which can be done to reduce attrition and improve employee engagement.

So “Why do exit interviews?” The reasons for doing so are well documented. CIPD give you some thoughts on this here.
We have analysed the data from Exit interviews we conducted here at PPS for our clients for 2013, and this revealed the top 3 reasons for leaving:

1. Work hours /life balance.

Here are some comments from leavers on this subject….

“They need to get people to work less hours and smarter instead of pressurising people to work longer.”

“I was told I’d be on 20 hour contract, but when I joined it was only 10 hours.”

“Company just expected too much, my manager kept pushing for more and more hours…”

It seems that work life balance and the right hours to fit in with other responsibilities are a major factor when people make the decision to leave.  Having flexibility around hours is really key in keeping people in their job.  Having the opportunity to work flexibly, take time off for family commitments and take holiday when requested are all important.  Also not being given enough contracted hours or pressures to work over the contracted hours play a big part in people’s decision to leave.  Many of you will know that from the 30 June 2014, the right to request flexible working will be extended to most employees with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service at the date of making a request. The previous statutory procedure for considering flexible working requests will cease to apply – instead employers are required to deal with requests in a reasonable manner and timescale. So now is the time to review your policies and handbooks and perhaps look at how you can retain your people from leaving for this reason.

2.       Lack of progression

From our research the second most frequent reason for leaving was lack of progression.  Here’s what some leavers said about this…

“There needs to be more structure around career development and progression, to identify top talent and work out a career path for those individuals”

“To promote internally before looking outside- have more faith in the people they have “

“I was promised that there would be chances for progression which was simply not true.”

Keeping promises about training and development and having clearly defined career progression paths are key in keeping people in the business.  Failing to help staff develop causes frustration and can be a first step in looking at other opportunities outside of the business.


3. Pay

The third popular reason for leaving a company was Pay.  Some common themes on pay were…..

“Pay is very poor for the skill level and the targets were in relation to selling things that customers didn`t need.”

“I enjoyed the job but got offered more money.”
“There needs to be an increase to salary for staff so they are competitive, pay people more money and I feel they would stay.”

“… there needs to be more transparency around salary, bonuses etc. “

Being competitive with salary and benefits is vitally important; this goes hand in hand with career progression, of course.   If an employee sees they are working towards a career goal within the company and have a clearly defined future, they will remain engaged despite having a lesser salary now, as they see the bigger picture.  This falls down when promises are not kept and training and development doesn’t happen.

The cost of replacing staff is high, with advertising, assessing, time  taken for interviewing followed with reference checking and training it’s not just the cost to the business but time to get your new staff on board with your business – have you really got the time and money to do this?

Do you know who of your staff may be looking to leave or who may be unhappy?

Have you thought about engaging with your staff now to establish their thoughts via a survey?

Do you talk to your new starters to ensure the job is what they thought it would be and are happy?

Do you know the real reason why your staff leave your business?

Find out now – if you haven’t got the time – PPS can help.

Anna Possee

Written by Anna Possee

Business Support at PPS Works Ltd

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What Does Onboarding Actually Look Like?

Friday, June 27th, 2014
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If you look online there are reams of information on ‘Onboarding’, you might even come across a few infographics or images of lifebuoys- yes lifebuoys.

When I began working in recruitment none of these lengthy articles really offered any examples or explained what good onboarding actually looked like. There are a number of organisations and businesses that are doing it successfully and every recruiter can learn a little something from them.

Thinking about candidates as an audience is particularly useful. Onboarding begins as soon as someone is introduced to you or your business. Check out the landing page for NHS Graduates- it has an interactive skeleton which helps to navigate the website and even has a ‘Match Me’ tool to find out if it’s the right scheme for the prospective candidate.

Another great example is the Motley Fool, a multimedia financial-services company, whose number one value is “Be Foolish!” The Motley Fool has an Employee Handbook with a difference. It’s online, interactive and the first page is a welcome video featuring the company’s CEO.

The handbook not only demonstrates the culture of the company, but also outlines the policies, including:

Appropriate work attire “Our only request is that you don’t dress in a way that would disappoint your parents.”

And a very relaxed attitude towards annual leave- “Take what you need”.

The Motley Fool’s approach not only deals with making people feel welcome to begin with, but also creating a great working environment for employees- don’t forget that the on boarding process goes beyond the first week. Click here to read the handbook.

Another company that successfully illustrates what onboarding should like is online shoe and clothing retailer, Zappos. The company and its culture have become so popular that they have stopped advertising altogether.

Zappos constantly talks about the ‘Zappos Family’ which newbies are welcomed in to through a New Hire programme. No matter what position an employee is recruited to, he or she goes through exactly the same training programme.

As well as training, new employees also take part in team building exercises and finding out more about the culture of Zappos. At the end of the four weeks, a small graduation ceremony is held- the company has reported that the people in each class bond and continue their friendships even after moving to their respective departments. You can read more about Zappos by clicking here.

These are all fantastic examples of top-notch onboarding. There is plenty of information online about it but it’s also really important to take note of what others are doing in the industry. By doing this, we can concentrate on being bold, innovative and creating a successful onboarding process.

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Business Development Executive at PPS




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What Genre is Your Recruitment Process?

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
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No two days in recruitment are ever the same, whether you are dealing with a number of different people, solving complex queries or working on the latest attraction methods. Every day offers a variety of challenges and can GENREFILMevoke a range of emotions.

It can feel a bit like you’re a character in a low budget film. The genre varies from day to day- I am sometimes reminded of Action and Adventure but, in less fortunate cases, Crime and Horror spring to mind.

Often the importance of candidate engagement is prominent when thinking about a successful recruitment campaign. Obviously this is an extremely important stage of the process, but this is where your day can become unpredictable and take on the form of any genre. However, the initial screening process can mean the difference between you being the hero and the victim.

Screening has become such an automated process that we often forget that, without this being done properly, there won’t be any candidates to engage with.

To me, screening is consistently a rom-com. There are so many do’s and don’ts- it isn’t dissimilar to dating.

Don’t get desperate

It is important to take time out to find the right candidate or you could end up in the proverbial bed with the wrong person.

You need someone quickly, but why waste time and resource on the wrong candidates? If your gut feeling tells you they’re wrong, you’re probably right.

Do spend time reading the CV

You know the role and you’re on a tight schedule- it can be tempting to skim over CVs in a few seconds, take in the basics and make your decision. This is where romance can turn in to comedy.

You’ve read their name, you know their most recent or current role and a little bit about their education, but is this really enough?  You wouldn’t base the potential of a date on this information and you shouldn’t for a job either.

Don’t be seduced

I’ve never met a recruiter who doesn’t love to chat and network. Reading someone’s CV or application form gives us a unique look in to their life and experiences.

You get a good sense of someone’s personality and you may have even spoken to them on the phone and got on with them phenomenally well. If this is the case they may be a good companion for a catch up in Costa, but are they really a good fit for the role?

Always give screening the time it deserves.

Rom-coms might not be your thing, but if you can put up with participating for a short while, you won’t get caught up in a murder mystery later in the process.  

Hannah RWritten by Hannah Ratcliff, Business Development Executive at PPS

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

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Five Years of PPS- a Recruitment Triumph

Friday, June 6th, 2014
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Reaching the milestone of five years after an MBO was a natural time for reflection.

PPS in 2009 was a great place to work, and we worked hard for our clients- some things never change! But of course, with time, not everything stays the same; there have been many, many proud moments, some setbacks… and a lot of fun.

What have I learned in the last five years?

That having a strong team with shared values and behaviours is absolutely essential – any success without this won’t be long lasting.

Celebrating 5 years of PPS

Celebrating 5 years of PPS

Have you heard of the concept of Manifest Destiny? It is a belief that was held by early pioneers in America who conquered the west of the country. They shared a sense of mission and an absolute belief in their destiny.  As I look on with pride at what we have achieved and indeed conquered over the past 5 years, I am reminded of Manifest Destiny.

I see that same confidence and pride in our team today as they suggest and deliver results using different methods and systems.  Ultimately, to find better people that will stay longer may sometimes require disruption of the status quo.  It certainly requires the ability to understand and embrace the latest thinking in recruitment whether it’s video interviewing or analysing data to understand themes and trends that could give advantage to a client.

What changes have I seen in recruitment? In short, a lot!  Five years is a long time in any industry.  In 2009 ATS systems were still not necessarily the norm for every business.  Their application tended to be focussed on how to manage the volume applications that many recruitment teams struggled with.  Social media was a new and quite trendy way of tapping into another attraction stream – but rarely used to engage and build connections for the future.  What we are seeing today though is the application of these methods and systems for the future-proofing of talent.

Successful recruiters know that it’s not enough nowadays to just know where to advertise or what job boards you can direct source on – that’s just one piece of a much bigger solution.  Candidate engagement, talent pools and clear understanding of your employer value proposition is essential.

Now we have to ask ourselves more questions than ever. Why do people leave?  How do you keep in touch with them? How do you measure the quality of the people you do hire? And it’s important to remember that sometimes, to move things on, you have to pose difficult questions.

For example, the rate of mobile applications is staggering.  How will jobseekers apply for jobs in another five years?  You can order pizzas, and arrange a date on your phone – but you can’t always tell a company you’re interested in working for them!

Recruitment keeps us on our toes and that is why it’s so exciting to celebrate 5 years of success and look forward to many more.

What advice would I give to someone else starting in recruitment?

Be nosy, be bold, don’t be afraid to challenge and question how things are done and always, always have fun while you’re doing it.

Amanda Marques Written by Amanda Marques, Director/ Owner PPS Works

Find PPS on Twitter and LinkedIn

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GUEST BLOG: Using social media as a listening tool

Friday, November 15th, 2013
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So much has already been said about social media, talk of how it’s revolutionizing the way we interact, communicate and broadcast – is there anything else to add? In my opinion, something is always overlooked and it’s something really simple in this case – the real key to making the most of social media is listening.

What's that? Using social media as a listening tool?

What’s that? Using social media as a listening tool?

Let me be clear here, I don’t mean spying. I mean, using social media as your benchmark and monitoring tool. Twitter is simply a global chat room where people share thoughts – 500 million tweets / thoughts are shared daily to be exact – so you can bet someone has already been tweeting about you and sharing  their thoughts . I urge you to use Twitter to tap in and gain authentic, straight ‘from the horse’s mouth’ feedback from candidates – and hear how you stack up.

Do you honestly know how your recruitment process – and recruitment brand – feels like from a jobseekers perspective? On paper, you might be hitting your targets and deadlines – but have you lost something in pursuit of that? How aware are you? Do you know what are your competitors doing, saying? Do you know how you compare?

Its time to lift your chin up from your desk and take a listen to what’s going on.

Why listening is important

Social media has given everyone a public voice. Take me for instance – if something goes wrong with a product or service I’ve bought – the first place I go to share my thoughts  is social media. I want my followers to know what happened to me so that they have insight when making similar decisions themselves. And this applies to recruitment also.

Some scary stats

So there’s a lot to discuss and improve!

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just the direct tweets to your account or @ mentions you need to look out for. Search Twitter for your company name, graduate programme and even industry. Listen, engage, and respond to your audience. Who’s talking about you, what do they need and how can you help? You might even find positive feedback about what you do – wouldn’t that be nice to share?

The search function on Twitter is a useful way to key into what's being said about your business

The search function on Twitter is a useful way to key into what’s being said about your business

Since it’s impossible to be everywhere at once, there are an abundance of options for keeping track such as, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and a useful tool called Twitonomy. You can set these up to create weekly reports, allowing to you to keep your finger on the pulse.

So, what do you do once you’ve listened? It’s entirely up to you.

If you’re the proactive type, look for trends in the mentions. There may be something you can easily fix – a website error or ATS glitch. If it is something that needs more time and effort – get the experts in – but you can still respond to show the candidate you’ve listened. In turn, these improvements will help to change your perception on social media.

Can you afford not to listen?

Blog by Kat Fox, owner of Peters-Fox consultancy and employer brand & candidate experience warrior.

Connect with Kat on LinkedIn

Visit the Peters-Fox website

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Are candidates being mis-sold what their jobs entail?

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
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Latest findings from the Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) illustrate that less than half those who have moved jobs in the past year, consider themselves as being “happy” in their new role.

Apparently, a fifth of those included in the study found the job differed from what they expected, whilst many found the work to be vastly less or more challenging than what they had been led to believe it would be. Consequently, a shocking 69% of employees now report they are looking to change jobs again within the year. Moreover, 56% of employees argued the role of the line manager significantly influences an employee’s job satisfaction level.

Here at PPS headquarters, we can’t help but argue that this is a serious case of mismanaging candidate expectations throughout each recruitment stage, but also failure to keep in contact during those key first few months of employment.

As we move out of the recession, the job market will become increasingly more candidate driven, and as such it is vital companies

whatdoyou think

Ask the questions that matter to your company

have efficient employee retention processes in place. Not only should job roles, company culture and role expectations be clearly represented throughout the recruitment process, but there should also be a marked effort to keep up with new recruits during their first year of employment.

Critical to achieving this, is understanding what your employees really think about your organisation. Although this may immediately sound off alarm bells in your head, we thoroughly believe in the power and use of employee retention interviews.

By inviting an experienced 3rd party to gain an objective and honest perspective of your new recruits’ initial employment experience; you can gain a wealth of insight on what is working for your business, and what is not.

At PPS, our employee retention interview program has helped uncover the real issues a business faces when it comes to keeping their new employees engaged. As such, with relevant and actionable data, our program has helped to boost retention rates, improve employee engagement schemes and, overall, the bottom line.

For more information about our employee retention scheme, contact us on 0121 713 8320 or alternatively visit our website.

Megha Sthankiya Marketing Executive at PPSWritten by Megha Sthankiya, Marketing Executive at PPS

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How to Hire your own ‘Gareth Bale’

Friday, September 6th, 2013
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This week has been record breaking for football in more ways than one.Transfer deadline

Bale’s transfer to Madrid for an astounding £86 million was all over the headlines; transfer fees in general were an eye watering amount – over 600 million in total from all of the Barclay’s Premier League clubs.

Which begs the question – was it all worth it?

Candidates who have the potential to contribute such a huge amount will always make the recruitment process worthwhile. Your company may not have Real Madrid’s capacity to offer their own star candidate, or ”their Gareth Bale”, £200,000 a week wages. But a smooth recruitment process can certainly add to the attraction of a candidate to make their dream move.

Some of the transfers failed because they did not meet the 11 pm deadline. Poor communication, team work and a rushed recruitment process means that some teams missed out on those players that could have meant the difference between them reaching the highs of winning trophies or the threat of relegation and the financial implications that may bring.

Using an RPO service means that you will rarely miss out on a candidate. Let’s face it, you don’t want to be like Hull, who missed out Shane Long after he flew from his Ireland training camp to sign on the dotted line – only to be dragged back by his former employer West Brom due to a lack of communication from both sides!

With several of our clients, we have reduced their time to hire astronomically, and continue to do so through streamlining the process even further. Our communication to both candidates and hiring managers, including ‘good luck’ texts, consultation calls and “hints and tips”, means that candidates and managers alike are fully aware of the stages of the recruitment process at any given stage – making sure that the best applicants do not fall through the net.

Finally, most teams recruit for their future. It is not something which will create instantaneous results – some players take a season to fully establish themselves in their new team. The EPPP, the Elite Player Performance Plan, has been conceived by the Barclay’s Premiere League and devised by Ged Roddy, the Premiere League’s Director of Youth. Youth development is at the EPPP’s core and they have thrown £340m into giving young players more of a fighting chance, such as increasing the amount of contact hours with managers and trainers.

Like the EPPP, PPS understand the importance of recruiting young, fresh minds. Recruiting apprenticeships, graduates and Industrial Placements into your business is an investment into the future of your company. Youth development takes time, but the benefits are broad and impressive.

So, although your recruitment process may not make the headlines – make sure it was a worthwhile investment.

yammaWritten by Hannah Adkins, Marketing Executive at PPS

Edited by Chris Ellis, Account Co-ordinator

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Guest Blog: How much do lost candidates cost your organisation?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013
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Chris Gunn is an HR professional specialising in resourcing, talent management and learning and development.  Her recent experience includes working for one of the UK’s largest forecourt retailers.    In this blog, Chris talks about her experience of implementing Moodle for on-boarding and learning management.  

After an average of 6 weeks to fill a vacancy, at a median cost of £8.3K for senior managers/directors and £2.5K for others (according to the CIPD’s 2011

Moodle Learning Centre

Moodle Learning Centre

resourcing and Talent Planning survey), losing a candidate due to start with your organisation or a newly recruited employee, undoubtedly has enormous implications for an organisation and its reputation.

We need to think about the effectiveness of on-boarding in our businesses – both before and when a new colleague starts. 65% of organisations say they start on-boarding before a candidate’s start date, with only 25% saying they start on Day 1. A third of organisations’ on-boarding scheme lasts between 1-4 weeks, whilst 25% say the duration is over 3 months. Whatever the optimum for your organisation, you need to ensure it is as effective as possible.

A forth coming acquisition of our business made us think again about developing effective on-boarding for our new organisation. Our goals for on-boarding were to:

  • ensure employees were engaged with the company culture
  • align them with the priorities and goals of the organisation
  • ensure employees had the key knowledge to perform quickly in their roles

Part of the company acquisition meant we were to acquire a new Learning Management System (LMS). We looked to choose one which would support us as part of our on-boarding activity. We selected Moodle – a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Moodle is a popular tool among educators and employers, for creating online dynamic websites for their colleagues or students.

As a replacement for our old e-learning system, Moodle would form part of our on-boarding process. It offered our company a new and improved way to manage and promote learning, which established our newly formed commitment to continuous colleague development.

Moodle was rolled out to 4,000 users, employees (permanent and fixed term), agency temps and externals to our business. By utilising its security features, we could customise access control for different groups. Furthermore, its customisation features allowed us to tailor various learning and teaching styles for colleagues with different needs. Through activity modules such as forums, databases and wikis, we built collaborative communities of learning around key subject matters. Through videos, assignments and quizzes, we delivered content and assessed learners.

Moodle essentially become a one stop shop for all colleagues’ e-learning information and needs through the employee lifecycle, in an easy to use friendly format.

For those new to the company, a new and improved modular on-boarding induction programme, Step to Success, was made available. Steps to Success allowed managers the opportunity to develop and enhance the performance of their team whenever a training need was identified. A How2 section was also created and easily accessed via the intranet, providing a hot spot of information to all colleagues. Our “Message board”, where course availability and cut-off dates were communicated to all, ensured that colleagues were always informed of training options, which ultimately helped to achieve a higher retention rate. To compliment colleague training courses, team training blogs were set up and frequently updated.

Monitoring the on-boarding programme feedback and new colleague turnover allowed us to proactively and reactively adjust to any feedback or issues that arose. With the correct tools and planning in place, you will be able to do just that; plus reduce the costs of losing new employees from your business.

So, here’s our question to you: are you sure your on-boarding programmes are effective?

Written by Chris Gunn, EDF Energy.

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What are your employees true reasons for leaving?

Friday, June 21st, 2013
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We are living in a world where budgets are getting smaller and we are encouraged to tighten our belts. We demand more from our suppliers and if we could drive down costs by recruiting less frequently – how much money and time would that save?

We have all been in that situation when a member of staff resigns and your initial reaction is: “I need to find a replacement and quick.”blog

We start to look in our talent pools, speak to HR about finding a replacement and engage with suppliers. We focus so much on finding a replacement that we often forget to really explore the reasons why they are leaving – and to be prepared to accept an answer which may not be the truth.

So ask yourself a question – if you were asked why you are leaving by the person whose relationship with you had made you consider leaving, would you feel comfortable telling them the whole truth (and nothing but the truth)? Especially when you consider that they will be supplying your next employer with a reference?

It is vital to know why people are leaving so issues can be addressed and trends analysed. But if the data collected is not accurate, you could be addressing a problem that does not really exist, or not solving anything.

A solution to this is an exit interview with an external company as this can help a leaver give their true reasons about leaving, allowing HR to address any issues.

Some of our clients have been able to stop people leaving by addressing concerns that we have raised to them. Over time this could help reduce staff turnover and in turn this could help reduce recruitment costs.

What are your thoughts? Are exit interviews a worthwhile investment?

reiteenWritten by Reiteen Ladwa, Account Manager at PPS Works.

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