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Turnover: Understanding the Impact

David Law

Tue, 25 Jun, 2024

  • Reading Time:
    ~ 4 minutes

Turnover is a natural part of any business. Employees come and go for various reasons, and not all departures are cause for concern. However, some turnover can be detrimental to a company’s success. This is especially true for regrettable turnover—when an employee leaves for a preventable reason.

Before we delve into the details, let’s establish the basics:

  • Turnover refers to the departure of an employee from your company due to factors like retirement, relocation, or a career switch. While their absence may be noticeable, there is no pressing need to quickly fill their position. It may have been beneficial for all parties involved that they moved on (e.g., lack of interest, subpar performance, etc.).
  • Regrettable turnover occurs when a top-performing employee leaves due to factors within your control (such as an inadequate salary package, limited growth opportunities, or a toxic work environment). This employee was likely on your list of key employees to retain, and it is crucial to find a replacement promptly.

In this article, we will explore the different types of turnover and discuss the impact of regrettable turnover on a company. We will also provide tips for gathering and using lessons learned from past employee departures to improve employee engagement and retention, as well as to develop more effective recruitment tactics.

Gathering and Using Lessons Learned

Evaluating regrettable turnover can provide a comprehensive understanding of overall turnover within your company. Regrettable turnover often indicates underlying problems within the organisation, such as low staff satisfaction, limited chances for advancement, or inefficient management. By pinpointing the root causes of regrettable turnover, you can implement measures to tackle them and decrease the chances of future departures.

One of the best ways to gather information about the reasons for regrettable turnover is to conduct exit interviews with departing employees. Exit interviews provide an opportunity for employees to share their honest feedback about their experience at the company. This feedback can be invaluable in identifying areas where improvements can be made.

When conducting exit interviews, it is important to ask open-ended questions that encourage employees to share their thoughts and feelings. Some sample questions you might ask include:

  • What were your reasons for leaving the company?
  • What did you enjoy most about working here?
  • What did you find most challenging?
  • What suggestions do you have for improving the company?

It is also important to listen actively to the responses of departing employees and to avoid becoming defensive. The goal of an exit interview is to gather information, not to argue with the employee.

In addition to conducting exit interviews, you can gather information about the reasons for regrettable turnover by reviewing employee performance data, engagement surveys, and other relevant sources. This data can help you to identify trends and patterns that may be contributing to turnover.

Once you have gathered information about the reasons for regrettable turnover, you need to take steps to address them. This may involve making changes to your company’s culture, policies, or practices. It is also important to communicate with your employees about the steps you are taking to address their concerns. By taking these steps, you can reduce the likelihood of future regrettable turnover and improve the overall health of your organisation.

Retention Strategies

Employee engagement is a key factor in reducing regrettable turnover. Engaged employees are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave the company. There are many things that employers can do to improve employee engagement, such as:

  • Creating a positive work environment
  • Offering competitive pay and benefits
  • Providing opportunities for professional development
  • Recognising and rewarding employees for their contributions
  • Encouraging employee feedback

By taking these steps, employers can create a work environment that encourages employees to stay and thrive.

In addition to creating a positive work environment, it is also important to identify and address potential factors that negatively impact employee engagement. Some common factors that can lead to disengagement include:

  • Lack of opportunity for growth
  • Unclear expectations
  • Poor communication
  • Lack of support from management
  • Unfair treatment

By identifying and addressing these factors, employers can help to improve employee engagement and reduce regrettable turnover.

The Impact on Talent Acquisition

Regrettable turnover can have a significant impact on talent acquisition within a company. By analysing the reasons for regrettable turnover, companies can identify areas where they need to improve their talent acquisition strategy. This may include revamping job descriptions, reviewing salary packages, and increasing development and promotional opportunities.

One way to use regrettable turnover insights to improve talent acquisition is to compare the reasons for turnover to the reasons candidates are attracted to the company. This can be done by conducting exit interviews with departing employees and surveys with new hires. By comparing the two sets of data, companies can identify gaps in their talent acquisition strategy. For example, if many departing employees cite a lack of career opportunities as a reason for leaving, while many new hires are attracted to the company’s career development opportunities, this suggests that the company is not doing a good job of communicating its career development opportunities to potential candidates.

Another way to use regrettable turnover insights to improve talent acquisition is to track the turnover rates of different employee groups. For example, if a company finds that it has a high turnover rate among millennials, it can conduct research to learn more about what millennials are looking for in a job. This information can then be used to develop more targeted talent acquisition strategies for millennials.

Additional Tips

  • Recognising when to be worried about regrettable turnover: Not all employee turnover is necessarily detrimental, and it can often be a normal aspect of the employee life cycle. It is typically recommended to maintain an overall turnover rate of approximately 10%.
  • Turnover as a strategic element: Instead of viewing turnover activities as solely operational obligations, consider them as a strategic element. Include both executives and HR in analysing exit interview data, as the information obtained can be utilised to develop a transformative strategy for the organisation.
  • Monitor responses over time: Information becomes valuable when it uncovers trends. It is important to not only gather data but also understand the context behind it to effectively identify the reasons for employee turnover. This requires consistent recording of data.
  • Adopt a proactive stance: While it may not always be feasible, it is more advantageous to adopt a proactive approach and anticipate the causes of employee turnover, especially after setting up your data system. One option to explore is conducting “stay interviews” with existing staff to uncover the reasons behind their decision to remain with the company.

This will provide you with a new outlook on how you perceive employee turnover in your organisation. Keep in mind, not all turnover is catastrophic, and by distinguishing between regrettable turnover and its underlying reasons, you can offer more beneficial input to your company’s strategy and overall well-being moving forward.

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