Reasons why high staff turnover can occur

High staff turnover might occur in an organization for any number of reasons. However, if a business is experiencing a higher degree of turnover than it anticipates, or can afford, it is well worth the time to explore the possible contributors that might be leading to that revolving door.

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Leadership that takes the time to explore why unexpected high turnover is occurring often discover some of these factors are within their control, while others, perhaps not so much. High turnover could be due to internal or external factors or it could be industry-related, the latter is more out of one's control.

Internal Factors

Negative environment

A negative environment can have a significant impact on a manager’s ability to retain good employees. In this kind of situation, employee morale often plummets and, as a result, productivity goes down. When this occurs, people are not happy in their jobs and they often leave to try to find happiness in another position.

Unfortunately, sometimes negative energy tends to be contagious and it spreads. If a business' atmosphere is drenched in negative vibes, it may be time to re-examine philosophies at the managerial level and work on down until the root of the problem is found to see where the negativity is originating.

Another good way to try to pinpoint the problem is to spend some time in the positions that seem to be showing higher degrees of turnover. If a manager can directly identify where the problem is he or she can take corrective measures to eliminate or compensate for those aspects of the job.

Unfair treatment or expectations

Some managers have high, unreasonable or too demanding expectations. In tough economic times it is often difficult to maintain operations as budgets are slashed and many companies are forced to operate on a skeleton staff. As a result, the employees may be carrying a large burden and be unable to keep up, creating lots of stress. If the workload cannot be reduced, or additional staff hired to fill the gaps, it is worth the time and resources invested to try and balance these tough workloads with rewards to help staff feel better about their jobs and show them their efforts are appreciated.

Employees are an asset, not a liability. If expectations are too high and employees are not offered respect or given dignity in their jobs, they are probably going to eventually look elsewhere for employment.

No incentives

Few people actively seek a dead-end job. If there is no room for advancement or other promotional rewards, employees are likely to eventually leave after a period of time. If there is no incentive to stay, it is probable they won't.

Organizations that don't offer competitive salaries, benefits or occasional raises will likely see higher turnover. Sometimes it is worth spending a bit on employees rather than absorb the costs in constantly recruiting, hiring and training new hires. While it seems by keeping benefits at a minimum, more often than not it is far more costly to put extensive efforts into a hiring process that is continuous.

No training

People who are thrown to the proverbial wolves are not going to last very long. The best way to retain employees is to match them to the appropriate job and then train them thoroughly in their positions.

Try to place yourself in a position where you don't understand the environment or exactly what it is that is expected of you. If you do this, you'll quickly discover this can be pretty frustrating.

External Factors


There are some kinds of industries that naturally experience higher degrees of turnover than others. If this is the case managers need to adapt their budgets and processes in order to compensate and account for this kind of turnover. While turnover can be mitigated to some extent, it may not be worth investing the money, time and resources to retain employees who are going to leave after a short time anyway.

Some examples of jobs that have a traditionally higher level of staff turnover are ones which don't require a lot of skilled professional training or are located in tourist areas (seasonal employees). Other industries known for high turnover are jobs in the food, healthcare and retail industries.

Stressful job

Businesses that carry a normal high degree of stress may find high turnover. Over the course of time employees may become sick or experience familial issues due to work stress and, as a result, quit their jobs. Employers that ignore the importance of work-life balance may find they can’t keep good people at their organizations.

It could be the job is hazardous and carries a higher level of risk or it could be the job's location or environment. Stress is a huge consideration for employees when they weigh out whether or not they want to stick with a job.

High staff turnover is something decision makers have to weigh out and determine whether or not it is affordable. If productivity is decreased and significant amounts of money are being invested in employees who don't stay, it is worth the effort to discover why this is occurring and take corrective action.


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