As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I regularly go into organizations to help them diagnose what is driving their employee turnover. My first question is “What are your employee turnover numbers?” I’m just amazed when over half are unable to tell me what their turnover is. In many other cases they can tell me what their number is but they have not done a calculation as to how much per year that turnover is costing them. If you knew, you would be appalled and perhaps allocate funds to do the things you need to do to reduce your turnover. Instead, many organizations simply “tolerate” their turnover or call it “a cost of doing business.” The other thing to keep in mind is that if you are not measuring it, you are not going to be able to determine if the actions you take are actually working or if you are wasting your time and money.
This employee retention author immediately has organizations compile historical data going back two years in an attempt to identify if there are any trends that become evident. Waiting to begin amassing data is costing you a huge amount of money and lost opportunity. Yes, you can begin compiling data while you are taking action on what you think might be a problem and what you think the drivers are but that will delay your ability to take targeted action. I also recommend that if you have been doing exit interviews, you dig them out and try to get a feel for why people may have left so you can at least start to put things into topic headings of why your employees are leaving.
Ideally, if you have some data, then you can try to go out and get some comparisons to other similar industries. In many cases, if you can’t get the information from an association because they have not compiled it, just pick up the phone and call people in your industry who may not be direct competitors. Talk to each other and find out what their turnover is like so that you can establish a target to work towards. I believe, if you measure it you will improve. If you know how bad it truly is, you will get on it if you have that number staring you in the face every day.
Ignorance is not bliss. You need to know how bad your turnover is and why it’s occurring. When you have that, you have a compass to guide you towards successfully attacking the problem. The key question to ask yourself is, “What’s my number?”