Boosting Retention: How to Calculate and Improve Employee Turnover Rates

analytics Mar 12, 2024

Are you struggling with high turnover, draining resources and disrupting operations? Discover how to accurately calculate your retention rate and implement targeted tactics to keep top talent. Leverage digital tools like CultureBot to build connected communities that transcend physical location.

Defining Employee Retention Rate

Employee retention rate measures the percentage of employees who stay at a company over a defined period, typically one year. According to SHRM, the average annual retention rate is 88% across industries. However, top employers consistently achieve 90-95% retention.

Low retention indicates underlying issues with:

  • Compensation and benefits
  • Career development opportunities
  • Management relationships
  • Company culture and values alignment

It's essential to understand that retention rates can vary significantly by industry, job function, and even geographic location. For example, the tech industry often experiences higher turnover rates due to the competitive nature of the market and the high demand for skilled professionals. On the other hand, industries such as education and healthcare tend to have higher retention rates due to the stability and mission-driven nature of the work.

To set realistic retention goals, it's important to benchmark your company's performance against industry standards. Organizations like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provide data on average turnover rates by industry. By comparing your company's retention rate to these benchmarks, you can gauge your performance and identify areas for improvement. Keep in mind that while striving for 100% retention may seem ideal, it's not always realistic or even desirable, as some turnover is natural and can bring fresh perspectives and skills to the organization.
Quantifying these factors is vital for HR leaders to enact data-driven retention strategies. Here's how:

How to Calculate Retention Rate

Use this formula to determine your company's retention rate:

((# of employees at end of period - # of employees who left during period) / # of employees at start of period) x 100 = Retention Rate

For example, if you had 200 employees on Jan 1 and 30 left during the year, your rate would be:

((200-30) / 200) x 100 = 85%

According to Gallup, organizations should aim for 85%+ retention, as anything below 70% is considered high turnover.

Gather turnover data from:

  • HRIS records on start/end dates
  • Exit interviews revealing reasons for leaving
  • Voluntary vs. involuntary termination numbers

When calculating retention rates, it's crucial to differentiate between voluntary and involuntary turnover. Voluntary turnover refers to employees who leave on their own accord, such as resigning for a new job opportunity or personal reasons. Involuntary turnover, on the other hand, includes terminations initiated by the employer, such as layoffs or firings for performance issues. By segmenting turnover data into these categories, you can gain a clearer picture of the underlying causes and develop targeted strategies to address them.

Another important consideration when analyzing retention rates is to look at data over time. While annual retention rates provide a high-level overview, tracking monthly or quarterly rates can reveal seasonal trends or the impact of specific events, such as organizational changes or external market factors. By monitoring retention rates regularly, HR leaders can proactively identify potential issues and take timely action to prevent further turnover.

Analyze rates by department, job level, and tenure to pinpoint problem areas. Track monthly or quarterly for real-time insights.

The High Cost of Turnover

Replacing employees is expensive. Josh Bersin estimates the total cost at 1.5-2X the employee's annual salary, factoring in:

  • Lost productivity while role is vacant
  • Recruiting and onboarding time
  • Increased errors by new hires
  • Cultural impact on remaining team

Demonstrate these costs to get leadership buy-in on retention initiatives. Then target common turnover reasons.

The true cost of turnover extends beyond just financial metrics. When an employee leaves, they take with them valuable institutional knowledge, skills, and relationships that can be difficult to replace. This loss of expertise can lead to decreased productivity, lower quality work, and even lost business opportunities. Additionally, high turnover can have a negative impact on team morale and engagement, as remaining employees may feel uncertain about their own future with the company and experience increased workloads to cover vacant positions.

Moreover, the cost of turnover can have ripple effects throughout the organization. For example, if a key employee leaves, it can disrupt ongoing projects and delay important initiatives. This can lead to missed deadlines, dissatisfied clients, and ultimately, lost revenue. In industries where relationships are key, such as sales or client services, high turnover can also damage client trust and loyalty, as they may feel frustrated with constantly changing points of contact.

Top Factors Spurring Turnover

People leave jobs for many reasons, but these are most common according to Harvard Business Review:

  • Lack of career development
  • Work-life balance issues
  • Poor management
  • Compensation concerns
  • Lack of recognition
  • Misaligned company direction

Address these proactively to retain talent. An effective solution is leveraging digital engagement platforms like CultureBot.

It's important to note that while these factors are common across industries, their relative importance may vary depending on the specific needs and preferences of your workforce. For example, younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z tend to prioritize career development and purpose-driven work more highly than older generations. Similarly, employees in different life stages may have different priorities when it comes to work-life balance and benefits.

To effectively address turnover, it's essential to gather employee feedback regularly through surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one conversations. This can help you identify the specific pain points and motivators for your unique workforce. By demonstrating a genuine commitment to listening and acting on employee concerns, you can foster a culture of trust and loyalty that encourages long-term retention.

Boost Retention with CultureBot

Remote and hybrid work make it harder to foster connected cultures. CultureBot integrates seamlessly with Slack to:

  • Celebrate shared wins
  • Gather employee feedback
  • Facilitate team bonding activities
  • Streamline onboarding
  • Enable peer recognition

Book a demo to see how CultureBot can be customized for your unique engagement needs and reduce turnover.

One of the key advantages of using a platform like CultureBot is its ability to create a consistent employee experience across different locations and teams. By providing a centralized hub for communication, recognition, and feedback, CultureBot helps to break down silos and foster a sense of belonging among all employees, regardless of where they work. This is especially important in today's increasingly distributed workforce, where remote and hybrid teams are becoming the norm.

Another benefit of CultureBot is its data-driven approach to engagement. The platform provides HR leaders with valuable insights into employee sentiment, participation rates, and key trends over time. This data can be used to identify areas for improvement, measure the impact of retention initiatives, and make informed decisions about future strategies. By leveraging technology to support retention efforts, organizations can create a more agile and responsive approach to talent management that adapts to the evolving needs of their workforce.

5 Strategies to Implement Today

Beyond digital tools, apply these best practices to increase retention:

  1. Ensure Competitive Total Rewards

Benchmark compensation to market data

Enhance benefits like PTO, flexibility, and wellness perks

2. Provide Growth Opportunities

Create skill-building and mobility programs

Map advancement trajectories

3. Train Managers to Nurture Talent

Coach on delivering frequent feedback

Recognize high performance often

4. Enhance Communication from Leadership

Share clear direction and vision

Be transparent about goals and challenges

5. Act on Exit Interview Insights

Group reasons for leaving into themes

Enact solutions to top turnover causes

While these strategies provide a solid foundation for retention, it's important to remember that one size does not fit all. The most effective retention initiatives are tailored to the unique needs and culture of your organization. For example, if your company values innovation and creativity, you may want to focus on providing opportunities for employees to work on cutting-edge projects or attend industry conferences. If your workforce is primarily made up of working parents, offering flexible scheduling and childcare benefits may be more impactful.

Additionally, it's crucial to involve employees in the process of designing and implementing retention strategies. By seeking input and feedback from employees at all levels, you can ensure that your initiatives are relevant and meaningful to your workforce. This collaborative approach not only leads to more effective solutions but also demonstrates your commitment to valuing employee perspectives and creating a culture of inclusivity.

Commit to Continuous Improvement

Retention requires ongoing effort. Calculate rates regularly, compare to benchmarks, and identify areas to enhance. Most importantly, listen to your people and address their evolving needs.

Reach out to see how CultureBot can be your partner in building a workplace where employees feel valued and motivated to stay long-term. Together, we'll create a thriving culture that retains top talent and drives success.

It's important to view retention as a journey rather than a destination. As your organization grows and evolves, so too will the needs and expectations of your workforce. By committing to continuous improvement and regularly reassessing your retention strategies, you can stay ahead of potential issues and adapt to changing circumstances.

This requires a willingness to experiment with new approaches and learn from both successes and failures. It also means being proactive in seeking out best practices and staying up-to-date with the latest research and trends in talent management. By cultivating a culture of learning and innovation within your HR team, you can position your organization as a leader in employee retention and attraction.

Ultimately, the key to successful retention is to create a workplace where employees feel valued, supported, and empowered to do their best work. By leveraging tools like CultureBot and implementing proven strategies, you can foster a culture that not only retains top talent but also attracts new talent who are drawn to your reputation as an employer of choice. With a committed and engaged workforce, your organization will be well-positioned to achieve its goals and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape.