With more job openings than unemployed workers to fill them, many people might find themselves wondering whether the grass is greener – or the money is better – on the other side of the fence. Here are six ways to combat high employee turnover before it becomes a talent drain.’s 2018 Retention Report offers valuable insights for businesses combating high employee turnover. In 2018, they estimated 42M workers changed jobs (or one of every four U.S. workers). With nearly full employment and a growing economy, employers competing to attract and retain talented workers would be wise to find ways to reduce voluntary turnover and discover whether top talent might be about to make a move.

To Leave or Not To Leave – Common Causes of High Employee Turnover

Of the 42 million workers who changed employers last year, the study estimates that 77 percent of the turnover could have been avoided.

6 Ways to Slow Down High Employee Turnover

When it came to employee-initiated separations, the top causes cited fell into five main categories:

  • 21% – wanted a better opportunity or opportunities for advancement
  • 13% – wanted to improve their work-life balance
  • 11% – were unhappy with their manager
  • 9% – left for well-being (personal or family health issues)
  • 9% – left for a job with better pay and benefits

High employee turnover is an expensive problem. In addition to the money and time that goes into advertising and recruiting activities, organizations with high turnover also need to be aware of how time and resources needed for on-boarding, human resources tasks, training add to the cost of high employee turnover. The study estimated that turnover cost employers $600B in 2018 and will cost employers $680B in 2020.

If direct costs were not enough, high turnover usually results in decreased productivity and can negatively impact the customer experience and employee morale.  And yet, fewer than one in three study respondents said they either have a proactive recruiting strategy in place or were in the process of defining a more strategic approach to the problem of employee turnover.

When you consider how many organizational resources are being spent filling open positions where employees left voluntarily, it stands to reason that even small reductions in employee turnover could have big benefits on an organization’s bottom line,  including increasing profits, reducing expenses, and improving employee morale and the customer experience.

6 Ways to Slow Down High Employee Turnover

1. Make sure you find out why employees are really leaving.

When an employee is leaving voluntarily, and especially when it is a top performer, an employee in a hard-to-fill position or its a surprising (and unwanted) departure, make sure you know why they are really leaving. There are many reasons why an employee might not tell you the real reason they became dissatisfied or what benefits they perceived would be theirs if they left for opportunity. If you feel that you might not have the whole story, you can also see whether their co-workers or manager can shed additional light on the subject, or evaluate the opportunity they left your organization for to see whether you can identify advantages they might have found there.

2. Look for patterns.

Departments with higher turnover or positions that are hard to keep filled may be indicative of a variety of factors that can result in higher turnover. From a bad fit on the team, to a bad manager or a need to redefine a position’s responsibilities, organizational areas where you find higher than expected turnover should always get a closer look.

You might also like: So You Made a Bad Hire – Now What?

3. Do a competitive evaluation.

Do you know what direct and indirect competitors are offering employees in the way of salaries, benefits, bonuses and employee perks? Your competitive evaluation shouldn’t end with the reasons that customers shop elsewhere. Make sure that you know the most talented and skilled workers – the workers that could make your business more profitable – might choose a competitor’s employee culture over yours as well.

4. Benchmark vital statistics.

Just like a nurse might come in and take a patient’s vital statistics at a regular frequency, you should be ‘taking the pulse’ of your employee culture. Use surveys, polls and suggestion systems to gauge employee satisfaction and identify areas where the employee culture, compensation, or working conditions can be improved.

5. Get employees involved in shaping the organizational culture.

Nothing impacts buy-in so much as giving people a voice in the process and its outcomes. Whether you form committees to help improve different aspects of the employee experience or use surveys and polls to influence decision-making, make sure employees know how they can get involved in shaping employee culture and – in doing so – positively impact the organization as a whole.

6. Eliminate dead ends.

One of the main reasons employees leave voluntarily is for a better opportunity or one where they will have opportunities to advance. No employee in your organization should be in a dead end job! Whether the road to advancement is for them to get more training and skills or for the organization itself to grow, make sure that everyone knows that there is a ‘next level’ and has clear direction on how to get there.

Firing a bad hire isn’t the only action you can take when you realize you made a mistake. Here are four ways to make the most of a bad (hire) situation.

4 Ways to Recover After Making a Bad Hire

One of the most important challenges when growing a business is making good hiring decisions. But what happens when you don’t?

Are bad hires really a big problem? A CareerBuilder survey of more than 6,000 hiring pros worldwide says yes. Among U.S. employers, one in four said that one bad hire cost their company more than $50,000 and more than four out of ten said that making a bad hire cost their organization more than $25,000.

Bad hires cost more than money, and the negative impacts of hiring the wrong person for the job can ripple to all areas of the organization, reaching all the way to the customer experience. Among the other company costs listed by businesses that made bad hires were:

  • 41% – lost worker productivity
  • 40% – lost time for recruiting and training another worker
  • 37% – cost of recruiting and training more than one person for the same opening
  • 36% – negative impact on employee morale
  • 22% – negative impact on customers

Writing on, Human Workplace CEO Liz Ryan recently shared a list of 9 Ways Employers Screw Up Hiring, noting that many organizations hire good people but then squash their energy and ideas “under the weight of mindless bureaucracy.” While some of the reasons Ryan cites as the cause of bad hiring decisions and practices are related to the hiring process itself, others are intrinsic to the organization itself, such as designing jobs poorly to begin with.

So why is it so common for employers to make bad hiring decisions? While there could be many factors that ultimately result in hiring the wrong candidate, it is vitally important for an organization to get to the root cause, giving the high cost of making a bad hire. Some of the factors that lead to bad hires include rushing the process, skipping essential tasks (like checking references), allowing internal biases or agendas to influence the outcome, or having the wrong people conducting interviews, such as people who do not understand the requirements of the job or makeup of the department very well.

Infographic – So you made a bad hire. Now what?

Change the Job

So you made a bad hire – now what? One action to consider is whether the job can be changed to better suit the candidate hired, since you did not hire the right candidate for the job. It might be far less costly to your organization in terms of money, morale and productivity to modify the job description or move people internally in order to put your bad hire in a position where they can become a good employee.

Invest in the Candidate

If your bad hire is a good person, the right response might be to invest in training and education that the candidate needs in order to fulfill the responsibilities of the position. When you invest in employees – from new hires to workers who have been part of the team for years – you may be investing in employee loyalty as much as you are investing in worker productivity.

Start Over

The realization that you have made a bad hire might be painful, and even embarrassing, but the good of the organization may dictate that the remedy is to let the wrong candidate go and renew your search for the right one.

Convey the Cost and Fix the Problem

Whether the right corrective action to take after hiring the wrong candidate is to move them to a different role, train them up into the role they were hired for or cut your losses and start again, it will cost your organization more than money. From plunges in productivity and internal morale to negative reviews left online from someone let go or candidates you passed over, it’s important that everyone in your organization understands the importance of getting the hiring process right.

While some bad hires can ultimately become good workers, there are situations where no amount of internal remediation is appropriate. In the CareerBuilder survey noted above, some of the behaviors of bad hires included an inability to work well with others, negative attitudes, problems with attendance and punctuality, and poor customer service.

Make sure that you dig deep when checking references. If you feel that you have not spoken with people who could tell you what it is really going to be like to work with a potential candidate, ask for additional contacts.

Take advantage of the first 90 days. Most employers consider the first 90 days of a candidates employment to be probationary; this is your chance to evaluate new hires closely to see whether their performance matches up to their resume and interview claims and look for signs of behaviors that could become big problems in the future (such as new hires that have trouble taking direction, accepting criticism or working with others).

You might also like: 5 Signs Your Company Culture Needs Fixing, Fast


Cost of a Bad Hire Infographic –

Infographic - So you made a bad hire. Now what?

Move over, Yelp; bad customer reviews aren’t the only negative feedback hurting businesses today. Poor employee reviews, ratings and a bad rap as an employer can scare top talent away, leaving you unable to attract the high performing candidates you’re looking for.

How a Bad Brand Reputation With Employees Can Scare Top Talent Away

What Candidates and Customers Might See that Could Scare Top Talent Away

Unhappy candidates and employees can turn to sites like Glassdoor and leave anonymous reviews about a business. They can rate a company from 1-5 stars and leave a detailed review which includes pros and cons of the company as well as advice to management.

These employer reviews become part of the public domain, and may turn up in searches not only by future job candidates but with potential customers, vendors and lenders as well. The strength of your company culture could impact your ability to attract top talent, clients, partners and investors.

Imagine that you’re a job candidate who has been offered a job with Company X. You decide to do a little research before deciding whether to accept the offer, negotiate for more money or turn them down and wait for a different opportunity. When you Google Company X reviews, this pops up:

Current Employee

3-Stars – Doesn’t Recommend

Title: Work Hard and Keep Your Head Down

Pros: High Quality Product, Excellent Union Benefits and Backing (You’ll need it!) -Strong Community Involvement

Cons: -Rampant Favoritism -Total Lack of CommunicationDiscrimination -High School Politics

Advice to Management: Uphold the SAME standards for all employees. Everyone (even management) should be held to the same standards, policies, etc. -All the time. (Not just when you need to fire someone…)

Still think you want to take this job?

Chances are that if you come across this review, even if there are other reviews that are more positive, you will be inclined to pass on this opportunity. Even more so if you are a candidate whose skills are in high demand or who would be leaving an organization with a strong company culture to take the next step in their career.

The Moment of Truth: What Would Your Employees Have to Say?

You won’t know how staff are feeling about the company and their roles within it if you never ask. Conducting anonymous satisfaction surveys that allow staff to rate satisfaction with various aspects of the workplace and give them opportunities to share suggestions is a great place to start. Act on suggestions when you can and where they have merit. Acknowledge suggestions (even if you cannot act on them) so that staff will know that they were at least considered.

Likewise, be thoughtful in the way that you select candidates for interviews and the process you ask them to endure. Make sure you keep them informed throughout the process and don’t leave them hanging. Whether you extend a job offer or not, consider getting feedback from candidates about your recruiting and hiring process for insights you can use to make improvements.

Brands that Scare Top Talent Away Today Sacrifice Tomorrow’s New Hires, Too

As it turns out, Yelp might just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to review sites that can hurt an organization’s reputation, and in turn negatively impact its ability to grow. Recruiting sites like Glassdoor give current and former employees and even mere candidates the ability to weigh in with a review and rating of employers.

Talented candidates that research employers before accepting a job offer or even submitting a resume could pass your company by if they find that other candidates you have interviewed or former employees had negative things to say about your company culture.

Certainly you don’t want to scare top talent away, but that’s not the worst of it. Not only do poor reviews on Glassdoor and similar sites affect your ability to attract top performers to your staff, but reviews on recruiting and hiring sites can also turn up in online search results which means they can cost your company new business and sales as well.

Consider some of these statistics from survey results published by Corporate Responsibility (CR) Magazine and Cielo as it pertains to an organization’s ability to attract high performing employees if they have a less-than-stellar reputation when it comes to organizational culture:

  • 86% of females and 67% of males would not join a company with a bad reputation
  • 46% would require a pay increase of 50 percent or more to consider taking a position at a company with a bad reputation
  • 92% would leave their current jobs if offered a role in a company with an excellent reputation

Make sure your plan for brand reputation management extends to its reputation with internal customers and even candidates who are interviewed for open positions, whether they are ultimately hired or not.