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Identifying and Addressing Employee Turnover Challenges

June 12, 2024

Discover effective strategies for HR professionals to identify and address turnover challenges, enhancing retention and organizational success.

If you’re struggling with employee turnover, you’re not alone:  It’s an issue on every HR manager’s radar right now. Retention is one of the biggest challenges organizations across industries are facing.

For one, replacing employees is costly. The average replacement cost per hire is $4,700, according to research by SHRM, although that cost can jump to 3x a new hire’s salary depending on role and seniority. But that’s just the hard costs – recruiting, background checks, temp workers and other immediate needs. 

There’s also the soft costs associated with high employee turnover, such as loss of productivity and the risk of plummeting morale within an organization as teams shrink. 

Retaining employees isn’t simple, but the investment pales in comparison to the resources required for finding, hiring and training quality new employees. The average cost of onboarding a new employee is $4,100 – and that cost increases the longer it takes for the new employee to reach full productivity. If it takes the average new employee three months to fully onboard, the cost is 25% of their annual pay, six months of onboarding is 50% of their annual pay, and so on. The good news is that talent management isn’t completely out of your control – a proactive strategy and forward-looking solutions go a long way in tackling turnover head-on.

Understanding Employee Turnover Rates

The average turnover rate across all industries is 3.4 percent, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, that rate can vary drastically depending industry, region and company size. 

One reason why turnover is so complex is because there are numerous factors that can prompt an employee’s exit. 

While voluntary turnover is the easiest to address through engagement and recognition programs, it’s worth noting that happy, well-supported employees perform better – which can help address performance or productivity issues before they even occur. 

The rate at which employees leave a company, either through voluntary turnover with employees leaving for opportunities elsewhere or involuntary separations initiated by the employer, has an undeniable impact on the organization as a whole.  

The Cost of High Employee Turnover 

The impact of turnover on organizational performance and culture cannot be overstated. 

High turnover rates disrupt workflows, diminish productivity and threaten to overturn strategic objectives. Beyond the bottom-line, turnover erodes organizational culture – leading to decreased morale among remaining employees and negatively affecting employee engagement and job satisfaction. 

In contrast, low turnover rates are indicative of a stable workforce and often correlate with higher levels of productivity, employee satisfaction and overall organizational success.

Calculate the cost of turnover at your organization


The Role of HR Professionals in Identifying Turnover Problems

How do you know if you have a retention issue at your organization? There are a few steps to successfully identify and address undesirable turnover. 

1. Monitor turnover metrics

You could start by comparing how your turnover rate compares to the industry average. That should just be a rough guideline, of course, no two companies are the same. To successfully implement targeted interventions and retention strategies, make sure to have a baseline understanding of organizational turnover – calculating your average annual or monthly turnover rates.

Regularly track turnover metrics such as voluntary and involuntary turnover rates, average tenure and turnover costs. This can help you identify patterns, trends and areas of concern. 

2. Conduct exit interviews and analyze feedback

Exit interviews provide valuable insights into the reasons why employees choose to leave the organization. Conduct structured exit interviews with departing employees to gather feedback on their experiences, reasons for leaving and suggestions for improvement. This can identify recurring themes or issues contributing to employee turnover and allow you to take proactive measures to address them.

3. Identify common reasons for turnover within the organization

In addition to exit interviews, make sure to regularly conduct employee sentiment surveys and focus groups to identify potential areas for improvement. It’s much easier to address small issues before they become major roadblocks.  Consider also adding a 24/7 anonymous pulse survey (like Inspirus' Employee Voice survey) to get real-time feedback from employees

4. Use advanced data analysis and predictive modeling techniques

Advanced data analysis techniques, such as predictive modeling, can help HR leaders anticipate turnover risks and proactively address them. AI can also be used to help identify trends, gaps and create a predictive model.

Through historical turnover data and employee demographics, for example, it’s possible to calculate employee turnover, identify factors that may impact future turnover and develop targeted interventions to mitigate risks. Whenever possible, combine both quantitative and qualitative data to forecast turnover trends and evaluate your retention strategy efficacy.

Strategies for HR Professionals To Address Employee Turnover

Here are a few key strategies to reduce employee turnover and enhance retention efforts:

  1. Improve the recruitment and selection processes: Review and refine recruitment strategies to make sure you’re attracting candidates who are the right fit for the organization. 

    This may involve revisiting job descriptions, leveraging targeted recruitment channels and implementing competency-based interviews to assess candidate suitability. Hiring employees who align with your company values, culture and job requirements off the bat can reduce turnover and improve retention rates.

  2. Enhance employee engagement and satisfaction: Employee engagement and satisfaction are critical drivers of retention. Nearly six in 10 employees are disengaged at work, according to Gallup, making this one the best area to focus on first.

    Prioritize initiatives aimed at increasing employee engagement – including hybrid or remote workers. Anything that contributes to higher levels of job satisfaction also helps reduce the likelihood of turnover.

  3. Provide opportunities for career development and growth: Employees are more likely to stay with an organization that offers opportunities for career advancement and growth. 

    In fact, research by LinkedIn Learning found that 94% said they would stay longer with a company that invested in helping them develop new skills.

  4. Offer competitive compensation, benefits and rewards: Compensation and benefits are key factors in attracting and retaining top talent. Traditional benefits are no longer cutting, specifically for the younger workforce. Regularly review and benchmark compensation and benefits packages against industry standards to ensure they remain competitive. Non-monetary benefits such as flexible work arrangements, wellness programs and work-life balance initiatives can also enhance employee satisfaction and retention.
  5. Creating a positive work environment and culture: A positive work environment and culture are essential for employee satisfaction and retention. Focus on fostering a culture of respect, collaboration and inclusivity. 

    The importance of feeling valued, supported and empowered at work cannot be overstated – which is why recognition is so critical. In fact, strong employee recognition programs reduce turnover rates by 31 percent

Collaborating With Management and Other Departments

While HR plays a pivotal role in addressing turnover concerns, it’s important to foster cross-functional collaboration between departments and with senior leaders. A collaborative approach allows for a more cohesive and effective turnover reduction strategy and promotes organizational success compared to situations where HR exclusively focuses on the issue. 

Building partnerships with senior leadership, for example, is essential for turnover management initiatives and aligning strategies with organizational goals. Presenting data-driven insights and using those to inform turnover trends and their impact on business performance can help secure buy-in: resources, support and leadership’s commitment to effectively address turnover challenges.

Additionally, working closely with managers to improve communication and leadership skills is crucial. Provide training, coaching and feedback mechanisms to help managers enhance their ability to communicate effectively, inspire their teams and build trust with employees. 

Tools for HR Professionals

Building a robust employee retention strategy requires a deliberate approach supported by the right tools. Here are some ways employee engagement and recognition technology can empower your organization to cultivate a culture of appreciation and recognition, ultimately boosting retention rates.

Employee Recognition Software

Retention programs rely more than ever on sophisticated software solutions that streamline the process of acknowledging and rewarding employee achievements. 

A platform like Inspirus Connects simplifies peer-to-peer recognition and facilitates points-based rewards, fostering daily interactions that strengthen community bonds and appreciation culture. Plus, robust analytics allow you to track and measure the impact of engagement efforts.

Employee Survey Tools

Understanding employee sentiment and needs helps drive a more effective retention strategy. With the Inspirus Connect platform, integrated digital survey tools provide a convenient means to gather employee feedback and gain insights into their thoughts and feelings.  

In partnership with The Happiness Index, Inspirus Connects features more than a dozen pre-built surveys covering topics from happiness to cultural health to engagement – supporting a tailored approach to retention efforts that meet the specific needs of your workforce. 

Addressing Employee Turnover Challenges

While there is no one single answer to address turnover, a combination of strategies and tools can foster a more stable, engaged workforce. Happy, satisfied employees are less likely to leave and more likely to succeed.

Learn more about reducing turnover with the ebook 5 Retention Strategies To Keep Your Best Talent

5 effective retention strategies to keep your best talent. Get the eBook