8 Reasons for Staff Turnover

If you are looking to affect your turnover rates, a good starting point is to do some analysis.  You can look at year on year results within your business, you can benchmark your industry or roles against competitors and you can set turnover targets and measure against them.

The equation for measuring turnover is:
Total Terminations/Average Headcount (over a set period)

Benchmarking information is available from Mercer Consulting, AIM, AHRI, and your own industry bodies.  Some level of turnover in your business is good.  High turnover will generally be cause for concern, but low turnover might mean that you have things working well, OR perhaps that they are too easy.  Is everyone too comfortable?  For example you might need to move out poor performers, increase staff productivity, or bring new people, new ideas, new skills and new energy into the business.  Minimizing employee turnover will have a direct impact on productivity, staff morale and your culture.

The main reasons behind voluntary turnover include:

FEELING DISENGAGED OR UNAPPRECIATED – feeling expendable or like a number, not getting recognition, or perhaps not given autonomy.

LEADERSHIP – how often have you heard the saying ‘ people leave managers, they don’t leave companies’.  Reasons include managers not making decisions, lack of direction, working under an inexperienced manager, being micromanaged.

NO OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH OR ADVANCEMENT – people in the organisation not promoted on merit, no career path or can’t see an opportunity to increase their salary, lack of coaching or mentoring and training.

JOB ISN’T WHAT THEY THOUGHT IT WOULD BE – It is critical to accurately represent the role and the company when you hire.  If you don’t, you are just delaying the inevitable.  Seems pretty obvious, but it can be tempting to overplay your role or what you can offer to secure a great employee.

COMPANY CULTURE – Their values don’t match the organisation or it’s an unhappy/unpleasant place to work.  What are your company values, and how would you define your culture?  If you don’t know this then how do you know if you are attracting and hiring people with the same values and goals.

UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS – If productivity expectations do not match salary, or there is a continual lack of resources to do the job, or lack of support.

HEADHUNTED – Be proactive about keeping your key staff engaged.  It’s much easier to do this than to try to change someone’s mind once they have already been approached and they are considering a move.  Communicate with staff regularly to understand their motivation and make sure you are meeting their need where you can.


So you may have noticed that remuneration is not on the list.  Money is not usually the motivator for leaving.  It is reflected in probably feeling unappreciated or undervalued and this can be expressed in many ways including, but definitely not exclusively about money.

So we’ve talked about some of the reasons behind turnover.  What can we do to affect it?

Next month we will talk about your Employer Value Proposition and how you can use this to attract and retain staff.