Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover 10 Mar 2017


Just five years ago, employers, on average, were reporting approximately a 15 percent turnover rate among employees across all industries, according to an article on Society for Human Resource Management. The service industry, including food and drink establishments, had an estimated 35 percent turnover rate.

Some of the top reasons for employee turnover, other than area economic conditions, include “high stress, working conditions, monotony, poor supervision, poor fit between employees and job, inadequate training, poor communications and organization practices,” according to the Missouri Business Development Program.

To maintain a healthy and happy working environment, it’s important to continually address employee satisfaction in conjunction with potential turnover. Reducing employee turnover is an ongoing process and essential to evaluate at all stages of employment – pre-employment, during employment, and post-employment.


Decreasing staff turnover at your business begins before your chosen hire steps through the door.

Without knowing the data behind your turnover rate, it is difficult to determine where issues might be occurring and in need of further research, evaluation, and targeted focus. Turnover is determined, according to the Missouri Business Development Program, by “dividing the number of annual terminations by the average number of employees in the work force.”

Once you determine your turnover rate, continue by figuring out the true cost of turnover to provide leadership and to use in decision-making processes – for employee hiring and termination.

Make sure your interviewers are trained to ask the right questions. Behavioral-based questions are important to ask, according to Adecco, to determine whether a candidate has the ability to do the job. Consider seeking employee feedback during your recruitment process to provide additional insight and potentially refer qualified candidates.

Doing due diligence during the hiring process can help identify any potential ‘red flags’ that might indicate an individual might not be a good mutual fit. In addition to interviews, a thorough background screening is essential in identifying possible historical problems that could impact job performance and allow you to make an informed hiring decision.

After successful interviews and background screenings are completed, offering an extensive compensation package based on industry standards provides a positive message. This doesn’t just include salary. Look at the vacation, benefits, flexible working conditions, and incentives as ways to help reduce turnover.

During Employment

How do your current employees feel about their workplace?

Creating an environment embracing open communication between leaders and employees is helpful to share dialogue about what is working – and what isn’t working – within an organization.

“Good people leave when they don’t feel appreciated and don’t get along with their boss. That’s why recognition and coaching is key,” CEO of YUM! Brands David Novak said.

A standard onboarding process can go a long way to supporting new hires and retaining staff.

“Some companies work very hard to convince people to join the organization and then these people are treated like a problem as soon as they show up on their first day,” The Hackett Group HR Advisory Practice Leader John Cooper told the Society for Human Resource Management. “How I get you in the door and how I treat you on your first day and in the first month has a huge effect on whether or not you stay.”

Extending support to employees beyond the initial hiring by providing training opportunities, mentorship programs, career development, and promoting from within can help build a bond of belonging for staff.

Don’t shy away from coordinating reward and recognition opportunities, which can be monetarily based or not. “You shouldn’t be looking for people slipping up, you should be looking for all the good things people do and praising those,” according to Virgin founder Richard Branson.

Also, throughout an employee’s time with your organization, continue to review compensation to ensure new staff isn’t receiving higher compensation than existing employees.

At times of transition, University of Florida Executive Education’s Essential of Program Facilitator Tara Blythe encourages leaders communicate transition reasons and the path to accomplishing.

“To engage your employees and retain them, you need to offer assistance to move through the transitions of change, so that they are with you in this process, committed, walking by your side and not being dragged along,” Blythe said in a University of Florida Executive Education article.

Developing an employee orientated organization as well as consulting and engaging with staff regularly can help create a sense of ownership among employees and increase retention.

“Remember that trust and loyalty are a two-way street,” according to the Missouri Business Development Program article.


What went wrong? All businesses are likely to go through a time of turnover, no matter how effective the hiring and employee-centered the organization.

When your business does lose an employee, it may be frustrating in trying to determine what could have been done differently to retain the staff member. However, the loss of an employee might present an opportunity to learn about issues and areas for potential improvement within the organization.

Consider conducting an exit interview and/or survey to gain insight into the employee’s time with the organization. Coordinate with internal leadership and stakeholders to reevaluate the job description. Before posting the job, adjust the position description to reflect a clearer vision for the role.


Reducing employee retention is more than a one-time review – it should be ingrained in the company culture. Create a workplace environment inclusive and open to employee communication and feedback. Continue to track employee transitions for potential trends in turnover and embrace employee retention as a team goal for leadership.