Losing a top employee can be a nightmare for just about any manager. Knowing that the team will be down another set of hands is stressful even if you were expecting it. If employee turnover has been a persistent problem, leadership is scrambling to hit deadlines while the talent acquisition team tries to fill roles. Unfortunately, this situation is all too real if your organization hasn’t been giving employee retention the right attention.  

Employee retention demands leadership attention. Here’s what turnover is costing you:

Employee turnover...

1. Decreases Morale

When an employee leaves, their tasks and responsibilities don’t go with them. The team is now left without their talents and abilities while still balancing the work that the exiting employee owned in addition to all the work they are responsible for themselves. Remaining team members are likely to begin to reflect on their own roles within the company. As more and more people leave, they will begin to question what they might be missing in their own careers or compensation.

Additionally, small or close-knit teams who lose one of their own might feel an emotional disconnect from their work. If that seems a little petty, consider how important team dynamics are to good work. One study found that 46% of work professionals worldwide believe that work friends are important to their overall happiness. Another study found 72% of people who have a best friend at work feel they are able to take on anything compared to 58% who don’t have a best friend at work.

Fix This: Great employees come and go even in amazing workplaces. You can prevent turnover from affecting the morale of your team by remaining positive with your exiting employee. Remember that how you treat this professional will both follow them on to their new job and will show remaining employees how you view workers who move on. Congratulate the employee on their new opportunity and if they were a great worker, remind them they are always welcome to come back. Above all, remember that how you act and react will set the tone for the team.

2. Decreases Productivity

Employee turnover can cost 2.5% of a company’s total revenue thanks to lost productivity. From missing their workplace friend to taking on the tasks of a lost coworker, turnover means the same amount of work for less employees. And with the average time to hire as high as 49 days in some sectors, there is real potential for employee burnout. That should be scary considering a Kronos study found that almost 46% of HR leaders blame burnout for up to half of their annual workforce turnover. Unfortunately, that means one lost employee can lead to even more lost employees.

Fix This: When an employee announces their departure, start creating a game plan. Take time to understand their responsibilities. Consider asking the employee to take notes of all their tasks, little or small, throughout their remaining time with your organization. You might not even realize all the things they do for your team until they’re no longer getting done, and once they’re gone it will be too late to understand the details. Delineate responsibilities to remaining teammates, ensuring that they will not be overwhelmed and that they have the training needed to carry them out. And don’t forget to thank them for stepping up to the plate.

3. Pressures Talent Acquisition

Obviously, while you’re working to divvy up tasks to teams and creating a process for what will happen until a new person takes the opening, your hiring team is feeling the pressure to fill that role. Finding and hiring talent has always been the job of the talent acquisition team, but when retention is a severe issue, there are even more obstacles in their way. Increased turnover means the potential for candidates to notice. If too many employees are leaving, job seekers will begin to question the company as an employer.

Fix This: It’s impossible to completely rid hiring teams of the pressure to fill roles, however, there are ways to relinquish some of the stress. Employee referral programs are a great way to bring in talent quick. Plus, referred candidates typically get hired and stay longer. And always be on the lookout for internal talent. In fact, internal sources ultimately produced 52% of hires in 2016, compared to 48% from external sources. Training employees to take on larger or more advanced roles means you’re saving yourself from hiring someone into the position who doesn’t fit the culture. And, bonus, employees themselves want to move up in their careers, but fear they have to move on from their employer to do so. Hiring internally means your recruiting team feels less pressure while your employees feel potential to grow professionally within your walls.

Turnover is impacting your bottom line. Fix your retention problem with these tips:

Be Proactive!

While it might seem like employees quitting is a huge surprise, the lead up to turnover is actually slow and steady. Most workers join a company with the hope that they will both enjoy more of their work and love the organization as well as the leadership. That means that employee turnover can be prevented with the right proactive actions. Here’s a quick list of things that are proven to prevent employee turnover:


Kronos also found that 87% of HR leaders say that improved retention is a critical or high priority over the next 5 years. Unfortunately, studies show that HR is more apt to invest in recruiting new employees than retaining existing talent.


Don’t let the A Players you worked so hard to recruit go. Focus on building a talent management program that supports employees, new and tenured. ClearCompany’s Talent Management Software has all the tools and resources you need to keep your organization happy, engaged and productive.

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Sara Pollock
Sara Pollock
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As the head of a department in the midst of a sustained period of rapid growth, Sara has spent hundreds of hours interviewing, hiring, onboarding and assessing employees and candidates. She is passionate about sharing the best practices she has learned from both successes and failures in talent acquisition and management.

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