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How to Slow Down Voluntary Employee Turnover and Boost Engagement

How to Slow Down Voluntary Employee Turnover and Boost Engagement

How to Slow Down Voluntary Employee Turnover and Boost Engagement
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By Raj Sundarason

A recent report has unearthed some compelling trends in employee turnover. When taken seriously (and I suggest we do), the impacts of these findings will have lasting implications for decades to come.

The report, Revelations from Workforce Turnover. A Closer Look Through Predictive Analytics, was produced by ADP Research Institute. The ADP researchers used a sample size of 41,000 companies and 12.5 million employees to draw their conclusions.

What they found was that employee turnover, particularly voluntary departures, costs companies significant money, productivity, and morale. Thus arises the need to curb turnover and address the factors that contribute to it.

Don’t let employee turnover drain your company of valuable resources.

When does the most employee turnover occur?

employee churn

We all expect a degree of turnover in our organizations. It will happen throughout the year with a degree of seasonality. Nothing new here.

But the revelations from the report are quite staggering.

Let’s break down turnover rates by the numbers.

“Most industries’ turnover rates reach their highest level in September, the same as the national average,” according to the report. “The rate of turnover for most industries reaches its lowest point in March. For manufacturing, that low point happens in January. Manufacturing also has the lowest turnover rate (3.4%) of all the industries observed and the difference between its highest and lowest points (1.3%) is the smallest of any of the industries. Compare this with the leisure and hospitality industry, where the proportion of part-time jobs is higher than for other industries.

“Since part-time workforces tend to show less employee loyalty, this industry has the highest rate of turnover (9.1%) among all industries. The difference between the highest and lowest rates of turnover (5.6%) for leisure and hospitality is also the highest of the industries.”

Now comes the kicker.

“Analysis reveals the average monthly turnover rate to be approximately 5%. About 60–70% of turnover in each industry is voluntary. And because it is initiated by the employee, voluntary turnover is more difficult to predict.”

3 main findings on employee turnover

voluntary employee turnover

We can simplify the report’s key findings like this:

  1.      Employee turnover is a reality
  2.      There are industry variances
  3.      Average monthly turnover is approximately 5%, 60% of which is voluntary

I am not going to suggest a solution. Instead, I want us to appreciate the implications.

Consider a 1,000 employee company. The data suggests that >60% of their churn is likely to be unplanned and unpredicted. The math suggests that 30 people will leave in a given month, or 360 over the course of a year.

In the last decade, talent management strategies have been a focal point. Bench strength conversations have been a topic of concern with millions of dollars spent on new technology. But if we peel the onion a little, what we find is the impact of the “power of how.”

Companies need a better ROI for employee training

Training Magazine’s 2017 Training Industry Report found that companies spent an average of $1,075 per learner last year, compared with $814 per employee in 2016. Companies also invested more time in employee training. Employees received an average of 47.6 hours of training in 2017, roughly four hours more than in 2016.

The year-over-year increases suggests the amount of time and money dedicated to employee training will continue to rise. That’s why we need to protect these investments.

The challenge of voluntary employee turnover threatens the investment in employee training.

employee retention

While companies strive to find strategies to stem the tide of unplanned employee departures, the reality is that organizations must find more cost-effective ways to onboard new employees.

This is because employee onboarding effectiveness has a direct influence on employee turnover.

How to curb voluntary turnover

For the past six years, we at WalkMe have focused on finding a better way to react to the growing challenges of employee onboarding and the rise of voluntary employee turnover.

We are never going to be able to completely prevent poaching and other factors that lead to voluntary turnover, but we are be able to make transitioning into a new role a lot simpler and more effective. And with better onboarding, the likelihood of early employee turnover decreases.

The ADP report suggests that compensation continues to play a significant role in turnover.

Employee onboarding effectiveness contributes to job performance, which has a direct effect on compensation. So, it stands to reason that a successful onboarding process sets new hires on track to achieve higher pay and reduces the rate of attrition.

If we can decrease voluntary turnover by 10% then the impact on shareholder value would be material.

A solution is within reach with the right technology

employee training

Think about how much better the workplace would operate with fewer overwhelmed employees.

Think about the dollars and hours saved by effective training, increased productivity, and lower rates of voluntary employee turnover.  

As we continue to innovate, we are seeing companies embrace the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP). It is not out of choice but necessity. Factors including the growing gig economy, shifts in business paradigms, and the rising pressure of shorter executive tenures are demanding new strategies.

The way we do business has shifted, and so must the way we train employees. To succeed, companies must provide employees with the tools to be productive, faster.

The power of how via digital adoption platforms is now.

If any of this resonates, feel free to comment or reach out to me directly. Our team is helping over 1,500 enterprises today with these challenges.

Retain your top talent and boost employee satisfaction with WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform.

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Raj Sundarason
Raj Sundarason is a HR tech leader and the Global Head, HR Line of Business at WalkMe Inc. Based in Singapore, Raj leads WalkMe Workforce Solutions business globally. Raj’s rich professional experience includes heading the SAP HR Software business across Asia Pacific, ADP GlobalView team, NGA HR, and Bridgestone Asia Pacific where he led Bridgetone's HR Digital Transformation program.