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Employee Turnover Can Cause Sticker Shock - That’s Mostly Preventable

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Voluntary employee turnover comes with a steep price tag in the US, costing businesses $536 billion in 2016 alone according to the 2017 Retention Report. If you’re experiencing sticker shock, you will wince at findings in that same report, which reveal the reasons most employees cite for leaving are preventable and that those preventable reasons for leaving are on the rise, threatening employers with a growing fee for employee turnover.

The 2017 Retention Report, which analyzed data from over 240,000 exit interviews, revealed that over 75% of the reasons employees cited for leaving their jobs in 2016 were preventable, or reasons the employer could have influenced to prevent the employee from leaving.Furthermore, trends show that these preventable reasons for leaving are on the rise, growing 6% over the past 7 years. The increase in preventable turnover is not surprising given the greater options available to employees in today’s marketplace.

The more preventable reasons employees cited for leaving their jobs, and as a percentage of all reasons, in 2016 were:

  •        Career Development (22%)
  •        Work-life Balance (12%)
  •        Management Behavior (11%)
  •        Compensation & Benefits (9%)
  •        Well-being (9%)
  •        Job Characteristics (7%)
  •        Work Environment (6%)

Total: 76%

The more preventable reasons for leaving represent key workplace conditions related to the organization, manager, team or job that can be modified to better address the needs of your workforce. This contrasts to less preventable reasons for leaving, more strongly driven by uncontrollable factors, which include involuntary turnover, retirement and relocation.

This should be a wake-up call for organizations to begin asking their employees for feedback, or to begin asking their employees for feedback in more reliable and actionable ways, that lead to well-informed initiatives and create a workplace where employees want to stay.

The first step in obtaining employee feedback is to ask employees why they left, using effective exit interviews. It is critical to ask open-ended questions “why” versus using pre-populated surveys. Next, you should assess employee engagement, intent to stay and then evaluate additional stages of the employee lifecycle, including recruiting and onboarding.

Employers are at risk of increased turnover costs as competition for workers continues to escalate. It’s critical to ask employees for feedback and prevent employees from leaving. Organizations that do not take steps to decrease more preventable reasons for employees leaving will realize an increasingly large bill for employee turnover.

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