Employee retention
What are the true costs of bad employee turnover?

First, a definition: Bad turnover is when productive employees leave your workplace long before they’ve exhausted their value. These employees have more to contribute to your organization, but they’re decided to take those potential contributions elsewhere.

Sure, no one is irreplaceable, and you’ll likely (eventually) find another great worker, but what will that cost? In cash? Morale? Lost productivity and training expenses?

According to SHRM’s 2016 Human Capital Benchmarking Report, the average cost per hire is $4,129. Other sources estimate that number to be much higher, after factoring in the time it takes to craft and place job ads, screen resumes, conduct interviews, and orient the new employee. And while it’s hard to put a dollar to interrupted processes, unfinished projects, and “reinvention of the wheel” (when current employees unwittingly retrace the steps of past employees), for certain there is a hard dollar cost.

All of this is to say – savvy employers understand that it’s smart to take steps to keep talent content. But how? Here are our top tips:

Support Learning

Every A Player knows the importance of staying marketable by keeping up skills, knowledge, and abilities. Help your employees do just that by offering tuition reimbursement, monies toward continuing education, and access to workshops, webinars, and conferences. Whenever possible, allow employees to use work time to pursue learning. Employers who insist that all “extra-curricular” learning occur off the clock may get a reputation among their staff for being stingy and not truly committed to their employees’ personal and professional growth.

Seek and Apply Staff Input

Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace declared: “Most workers, many of whom are millennials, approach a role and a company with a highly defined set of expectations.

They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day. They want to learn and develop.” Put another way, your A Players are not interested in being seen as “hired hands” – expected to do as they’re told when they’re told. Instead, they expect to be seen as experts in their fields, and they want to use that expertise to impact the business in significant ways. Employers who reject this ideal in favor of traditional command and control styles of management won’t be able to engage or retain the most sought after employees. 

Encourage and Reward Collaboration

Rare is the workplace in which employees can get anything done by acting alone. Instead, most of us regularly rely on each other to meet our goals. That said, it’s all too easy to ignore your coworkers’ contribution to your success when your company encourages competition and ignores backbiting, backstabbing, and other forms of aggression, all in the name of getting things done. True, we need to get things done, but A Players (especially those who have embraced the more modern workplace values of teamwork, collaboration, and diversity) are likely to shy away from toxic, everyone-for-himself/herself work environments that just don’t feel very good. Behavioral assessments are one way to test each team member’s tendency to enjoy working in teams and/or to be collaborative and accommodating by nature.

Give ‘Em Room

Nobody, least of all A Players, want to work under someone else’s thumb. Micromanagement, constricting rules (both written and unwritten), and policies that run counter to common sense are all a turn off to top talent.

It’s like Lee Iacocca said – hire smart people and then get out of their way.

Low unemployment means competition for talent is tough, yet too many employers do everything possible to drive their most productive employees out the door. The rest, however, are learning the New Rules of Employee Retention and encouraging their best and brightest to stick around for a while.


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Freelance Writer, Editor, and HR Consultant in Philly. You can find more of Crystal's work at: www.crystalspraggins.blogspot.com