Employee turnover is inevitable. Some of it is completely out of a company’s hands. However, much of it isn’t. To prevent employee turnover, companies need to anticipate it. To anticipate turnover, they need to collect employee turnover data.
Different Types of Employee Turnover
When talking about employee turnover, it’s important to note that there are different types of turnover, some more damaging than others.
Losing an employee with loads of experience who consistently performs at a high level is a big loss. Likewise, losing a highly skilled employee in an industry where highly skilled employees are at a premium and also a scarcity is also a big loss.
Losing an employee with little experience who consistently performs at a low level is less of a loss. Likewise, losing a relatively low-skilled employee in an industry where low-skilled employees are plentiful is also less of a loss.
Every case is unique, depending on the industry, the company, the position and the individual. Along with the tangible factors such as experience and performance, there are a number of intangible factors like personality and chemistry with other employees.
—Ryan Braley, Avitus Group Director of Human Resources and Risk Management
Collect Employee Turnover Data
If you don’t know why your employees stay or go, you can’t address any of the issues causing some of them to leave.
Collecting employee turnover data is a way to better understand your organization, including what influences employees to depart.
However, the collection method can be a challenge. The traditional yearly survey may not be the best solution.
Companies need tools and methods that measure and capture employee feedback and sentiment on a real-time, local basis so they can continuously adjust management practices and the work environment at a local level. These tools include employee feedback systems as well as data analytics systems that help identify and predict factors that create low engagement and retention problems.
…It’s important to instrument your company so you obtain regular, unbiased, and anonymous feedback. People always want to talk about what’s working and what’s not in their company. An annual employee survey is far too slow and limiting.
Today, pulse survey tools, sentiment monitoring tools, and employee sensing tools give employees a variety of ways to express their feelings and provide direct feedback to managers and peers…Consider these tools as the anonymous “heartbeat monitors” of your business.
—Deloitte University Press
Conduct Exit Interviews
If you don’t know why your former employees left, you can’t anticipate why your current employees may follow suit. It’s worth trying to find out, and exit interviews can provide valuable insight.
If employees are leaving for reasons that don’t reflect on the company in any way (e.g., they want to do something different), they’re likely to tell you why they’re leaving.
By keeping track of these reasons, you can get a picture of what your workforce looks like coming in and going out.
If employees are leaving for negative reasons (e.g., issues they have with the company, coworkers or managers), they may not want to tell you the truth because they don’t want to burn a bridge.
However, some may just tell you. And even if no one does, you may still deduce a pattern by looking at your data overall (e.g., if employees in a certain department are leaving at a higher rate than in other departments).
An international financial services company hired a midlevel manager to oversee a department of 17 employees. A year later only eight remained: Four had resigned and five had transferred.
To understand what led to the exodus, an executive looked at the exit interviews of the four employees who had resigned and discovered that they had all told the same story: The manager lacked critical leadership skills, such as showing appreciation, engendering commitment, and communicating vision and strategy.
More important, the interviews suggested a deeper, systemic problem: The organization was promoting managers on the basis of technical rather than managerial skill. The executive committee adjusted the company’s promotion process accordingly.
Anticipate with Data
It’s impossible to retain all of your valuable employees—that’s just a fact of business.
However, you can anticipate your company’s employee turnover by collecting data on why employees stay or go.