Proven Strategies to Reduce Employee Turnover

César Gamio

In any industry, retaining top talent is a constant challenge. The volatile nature of many sectors often leads to high turnover rates, which can significantly impact productivity and morale. 

However, with the right strategies in place, businesses can mitigate turnover and foster a culture of loyalty and commitment amongst employees.

Understanding employee turnover

Employee turnover can be attributed to various factors, including demanding workloads, intense competition and limited career growth opportunities. 

The average turnover – or churn – for UK workers is 35%. This splits down as 26.9% who move to a new employer and 8.2% who are not working one year later (year 2).

(CIPD)

Recognising the underlying causes is the first step towards implementing effective solutions. Business leaders need to take an active role in listening to employees, collecting the relevant data and using that information to make evidence-based decisions regarding workplace wellbeing initiatives that will help drive engagement, performance and retention.

Employee turnover – costs and implications 

It is without a doubt that any good business leader wants to retain their employees for as long as possible because the costs and implications of employee turnover are undeniably inconvenient, time-consuming and expensive. Below, we have outlined some of the direct and indirect costs relating to employee turnover, as well as some implications: 

Direct costs

1. Recruitment expenses: Advertising, job boards, and recruitment agencies

When an employee leaves a company, their job doesn’t necessarily stop being important and oftentimes, companies need to find a replacement as soon as possible.

2. Onboarding costs: Training materials, orientation and administrative setup.

Once a replacement has been found, they need to be trained so that they are able to integrate into the company and perform their tasks as seamlessly as possible. This requires resources, as well as time from those responsible for training new recruits. 

3. Lost productivity: Reduced efficiency while new employees reach full productivity.

While the new recruit is getting to grips with their role within the company, it’s a given that productivity will decrease. As the team’s resources have been allocated to training and onboarding, their usual workload may suffer some setbacks. 

4. Severance pay: Compensation and benefits to departing employees.

When employees are let go, depending on the situation, companies may find themselves paying departing compensation. This is an expense that occurs on top of the cost of recruitment and onboarding of new employees. 

Indirect costs

1. Knowledge loss: Departure of experienced employees can result in loss of institutional knowledge.

When employees leave, they take their expertise and contacts with them. In some cases, they even take clients that they have built a particularly good rapport with to their next employment.

2. Reduced morale: Frequent turnover can lower team morale and engagement.

A team that sees members come and go frequently may feel less inclined to make efforts to connect with new recruits on the basis that it’s more likely that person will leave than stay. This can hinder team morale, resulting in reduced productivity and engagement. 

3. Increased workload & risk of burnout: Remaining staff may face higher workloads, leading to burnout.

When employees leave their workplace, they leave their workload too. This means that their team will have to pick up the pieces and put in more hours to ensure they don’t fall behind on their targets. This can be extremely stressful and seemingly unfair for those staying on at the company, which may reduce morale and drive turnover, as more employees start to feel their welfare needs are not being met. 

Implications for organisations

  1. Financial impact: High turnover leads to significant costs, affecting profitability.
  2. Operational disruption: Continuity and quality of services may suffer.
  3. Reputation: High turnover can damage an organisation’s reputation, making it harder to attract talent.
  4. Legal risks: Frequent turnover may indicate compliance issues, inviting scrutiny.

Strategies to reduce employee turnover

Career growth

Providing clear paths for advancement motivates employees to stay and grow within the organisation.

Real-life scenario: A mid-sized marketing firm identified a gap in the skill sets of its junior employees. To address this, the company introduced a comprehensive skills development programme. Employees attended workshops on advanced marketing techniques, data analysis and digital tools. In addition, each junior employee was paired with a senior mentor. The mentors provided guidance, shared industry insights and offered career advice on a fortnightly basis. Over six months, the firm saw significant improvements in employee performance and job satisfaction. The initiative also led to increased retention rates, as employees felt more valued and invested in their career growth.

Work-life balance

Balancing professional and personal commitments is crucial for employee wellbeing and retention – and this is true, but let’s take it a step further and emphasise the importance of supporting your employees so they are able to reach a state of work-life integration. Work-life balance is a great start, but achieving work-life integration will take your workplace to another level. 

Real-life scenario: A large financial services company gave employees the option to adjust their start and end times, and to work remotely up to three days per week. The company provided the necessary technology and support to ensure seamless communication and collaboration. Over the following months, employee surveys indicated higher job satisfaction and improved work-life integration. Additionally, the company observed a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in overall productivity. 

Training and executive coaching opportunities

It’s important to make sure that management and leadership teams, as well as employees, are equipped with the right skills to secure personal and professional success within their roles. 

Real-life scenario: Senior leaders attended workshops on advanced leadership strategies, conflict resolution and effective communication. Each executive received 1-to-1 coaching from experienced industry professionals. The coaches provided tailored advice, feedback and support for personal and professional growth. Employee feedback indicated a more positive organisational culture and increased confidence in management.

Tailoring strategies for remote workforces

In today’s increasingly remote work landscape, traditional turnover reduction strategies must be adapted to accommodate distributed teams.

Real-life scenario: Employees from a fully remote company participated in interactive virtual games and collaborative projects designed to build camaraderie and trust. The company offered online training sessions on various topics, including stress management, communication skills and new software tools. Implementing virtual team-building activities and online training opportunities had a positive impact on the company, who saw increased productivity and retention rates. 

The long-term benefits of turnover reduction strategies

Taking measures to reduce employee turnover is not just about immediate cost savings; it’s about investing in the future success of the company. A stable workforce leads to higher productivity, lower recruitment costs, and a positive employer brand, attracting top talent in the long run.

Workplace wellbeing consultants play a pivotal role in supporting organisations’ efforts to reduce staff turnover and promote employee satisfaction. This can range from anywhere between employee training or executive coaching to planning and implementing a targeted workplace wellbeing strategy.

Reducing employee turnover requires a multifaceted approach 

that addresses the root causes of dissatisfaction and prioritises employee wellbeing. By implementing tailored strategies, fostering a culture of recognition and support, and leveraging the expertise of workplace wellbeing consultants, businesses can cultivate a loyal and resilient workforce poised for long-term success.

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