Employee Turnover

Employee TurnoverIn a human resources context, turnover or labour turnover is the rate at which an employer gains and loses employees. Simple way to describe it are “how long employees tend to stay” or “the rate of traffic through the revolving door.” Turnover is measured for individual companies and for their industry as a whole. If an employer is said to have a high turnover relative to its competitors, it means that employees of that company have a shorter average tenure than those of other companies in the same industry. High turnover may be harmful to a company’s productivity if skilled workers are often leaving and the worker population contains a high percentage of novice workers.

Excessive turnover can be a very costly problem, one with a major impact on productivity. One firm had a turnover rate of more than 120% per year! It cost the company $1.5 million a year in lost productivity, increased training time, increased employee selection time, lost work efficiency, and other indirect costs.

But cost is not the only reason turnover is important. Lengthy training times, interrupted schedules, additional overtime, mistakes, and not having knowledgeable employees in place are some of the frustrations associated with excessive turnover. Turnover rates average about 16% per year for all companies, but 21% per year for computer companies.54 Computer companies average higher turnover because their employees have many opportunities to change jobs in a “hot” industry.

Many studies show that companies with low turnover rates are very employee oriented. Employee oriented organizations solicit input and involvement from all employees and maintain a true “open-door” policy. Employees are given opportunities for advancement and are not micro-managed. Employees believe they have a voice and are recognized for their contribution.

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