Reducing Employee Turnover – 5 Top Tips

ResignationHigh employee turnover is a costly problem for businesses. Not only does the actual process of losing staff and then finding, hiring and training replacements cost money but it decreases productivity.

Long term staff are better for a business as they are fully trained, have developed working relationships with clients and other staff and most importantly – know what they are doing. Hiring new staff can be risky as no matter how well you vet applicants, bad employees do slip through the net. This can be damaging to productivity and the trust of clients. You also don’t want staff leaving and taking possible trade secrets or clients with them!

Despite all of this many companies do have high employee turn over so here are 5 Top Tips for reducing it.

  • Think before you hire
  • Create a pleasant working environment
  • Balance workloads
  • Reward employees
  • Conduct exit interviews

Are you listening to your staff? Here are some Active Listening Tips to help you!

Think before you hire

The number one reason for losing employees is because businesses haven’t taken enough care when hiring them. Fully vet every applicant with multiple interviews and make sure they fit into your business. Make sure you follow up references and scour their work history. If they haven’t lasted very long at any other companies why would they stick around at yours?

Find out why they left their previous position and make sure you can offer what they want from a job. If an employee left a previous job because of salary, working hours or workload make sure you can address those issues yourself or it won’t be long before they leave your business too.

Create a pleasant working environment

Nobody wants to work in a cold, unwelcoming workplace so allow your employees some freedom so that they feel comfortable at work. Simple and cheap solutions can provide your employees with a pleasant atmosphere that they enjoy working in. Comfortable seating and temperature are a good start – without these basics employees can become restless and unproductive.

Free tea and coffee is an incentive to keep employees happy – but make sure they can drink at their desks so that there aren’t frequent tea breaks.

Do provide a break area for employees to enjoy their lunch. Nobody wants to eat at their desk and but at the same time most can’t afford to eat lunch in a cafe every day. A lunch room provides an area for staff to have breaks away from their work without feeling like they have to leave the office. Break rooms are also good for employee relationships as it gives them a chance to talk about non-work related subjects.

Consider allowing staff to personalise their immediate workspace. Subtle allowances such as these give employees the impression they belong at a company and aren’t easily replaced.

If implementing these tips it is important to get the comfort/work place balance right. An over relaxed employee is an unproductive employee. It is still a work place and not home.

Balance workloads

Stressed workloadMany employees leave jobs due to problems with their workload. This can go two ways – if you challenge staff too much and demand more work that they can provide they will become disillusioned with the job, stressed and feel unappreciated for what they are doing. Leaving staff with too much work often means they’re working more hours than they’re paid for leaving you with overworked, disgruntled staff. Despite working longer hours, overworked staff are actually less productive as they aren’t functioning at 100%.

In the other direction, employees with a small, unchallenging workload will become bored in their jobs and look elsewhere for challenges. It is important to schedule regular feedback to make sure staff have a balanced workload that is both motivating but not impossible.

For more tips on motivating employees see Top Ten Tips for Motivating Your Team.

Reward employees

Employee of the monthEverybody wants to be appreciated for the work they put in. The obvious way to show this is through high salaries but that’s not the only option. Competitive salaries are necessary for keeping staff but performance-related bonuses are also important.

Performance based rewards make employees feel valued and encourages them to perform. If an employee receives an immediate reward for working hard they are likely to work hard all the time.

Performance bonuses also have the added incentive of only benefiting the best employees – the ones you want to keep. A staff member will leave if they feel they’re putting in more effort than another employee on the same salary as they will feel unappreciated. This will also encourage the unmotivated staff to compete with those receiving rewards.

The rewards don’t necessarily have to be monetary – employee of the month is a long standing tradition of showing staff their value without emptying the pockets.

Conduct Exit Interviews

Exit signAlthough it is too late to stop the employee leaving, an exit interview allows you to find out why they are so that you can make changes to stop future employees leaving. Examples of questions you could ask (as well as the obvious ones) are:

  • How long have they been looking to leave?
  • Do they feel the organisation could have offered them the position they require?
  • How often were their performance and workload reviews? Did they find them useful?
  • What improvements could be made to the organisation to increase employee satisfaction?


Everything should be done to ensure employee satisfaction without compromising productivity. Create a comfortable working environment with the emphasis on working. Use feedback from employees to consider changes they feel are necessary while ensuring they realise that hard work produces rewards. Motivation is key – happy, busy workers stay.

Have you got any tips to add to this list? How have you managed employee turnover in the past?

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Andy Trainer

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Reyndert Coppelmans says:

Obviously it is important to identify the cause of high employee turnover. Is it a dominat / aggressive boss, or a high workload? Or is the industry average turnover as anyway?

I believe the most important in binding an employee is creating a psychological agreement between the employer / organization representative and the employee. This is how you may do this:

Internal competition is may seem as the right way to go, but it may demotivate some employees to share knowledge and to use that knowledge for their own benefit instead of the benefit of the organization.

A way to tackle this is to implement to create mutal dependence:
- Make sure employee rewards are based on team results, not solely individual performance. Constructive cooperation between people will facilitate employee motivation to stay

- Make sure that employees are not overstressed by their workload. Fit the tasks for an employee to their skills and ability, and more importantly their ambition to grow/ expand their skillset

- Often overseen is understress in the workenvironment. Make sure that you don’t hire overqualified people for the job, otherwise they will not perceive enough challenge in their daily job and the thing becomes a routine. Individually tailor the task to the person, or find the best person to fit the tasks. Make sure that the task set is always a bit above the employee’s qualifications, ensuring growth

- Facilitate flexworking. With the rise of TV and consumer travel, people want, especially the Gen Y / Geny Z / Gen Alpha will want more different impressions every day. For them the same work environment daily will be a major reason to seek out a different one. With IT technology it is possible to make sure employees are working although they may not be physically present. Tailor your evaluation not to hours worked, but to results achieved.

- Employer branding: match ID company with id employee

A good fit from the start is super important: What might be going wrong in the recruitment process that could lead to high employee turnover? Are you hiring overqualified candidates? Is their to much to less challenge?
- Fit the personality to the job. The der Jung/Insights – personality types ensure that people who are one type don’t fulfill the job of the opposite personality type. This will create stress. In the attached chart, the observer-type should not be fulfilling an inspirator-type job. Observers are better analyst and are good at reporting, inspirators good at creating innovative ideas or motivation.

This match is critical. You can find information online on how to recognise these personality types by body language.

I can’t stress enough that psychology is so important in recruitment

If the answer need anymore clarification please indicate what and I’ld be happy to provide you with a more detailed answer.


Cheryl Roshak says:

The main cause for high employee turnover is not so much any one thing as mentioned in the article or what many people have volunteered on Linkedin, though they all count to some degree, it is really that the company itself is not a good company to work at all around. They abuse their employees on every level, emotionally, pay-wise, psychologically, they tend to overwork them, frighten or bully them, and make it unpleasant to be at their jobs.

As a recruiter for the past 25 years I have worked with all sorts of companies, and each company has a reputation in the industry or a company “personality.” When I’ve had job orders from companies that are less than desirable places to work for, I have always been up front with my candidates describing the working environment, the nature of the boss or managers they will be under, how the company operates and leave it to them if they wish to be presented to such a company. Some can take it, others run in horror from such environments. Different strokes for different folks.

The problems stem from the top and is a trickle down process. If the bosses or partners have a way of doing business that is less than desirable, or don’t see their employees as valuable contributors then they can run a slave shop or a gestapo camp. It would be wise of those companies with high turnover rates to hire either a coaching team or business consultant to see where the breakdown and problems are within the management style of the company and listen to employee complaints. But not all bosses are so reflective or really see this as a problem as long as their numbers are met. That’s my take on it.

kate phillips says:

Give them a reason to be THERE and not somewhere else. Give them a reason to choose to work with and for YOU and no one else. Say please and thank you, have your training and recognition and reward at healthy and respectful levels, and lead like you mean it.

Jim Rose says:

Start by clearly defining the problem regarding why turnover is high. This might need to be done by an outside resource to ensure objectivity. Then the actions needed will depend on what the problem actually is.

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