Employers complacent about rising staff turnover

2013

A quarter of US employers acknowledge that employee turnover is on the increase and expect many employees to move on to a new job as soon as they can. But despite the potential costs and disruption, seven out of 10 employers don't view the situation as being unusual and fewer than one in 10 view it as an urgent issue that their organization needs to address.

According to a survey by the American Management Association (AMA), the majority of employers appear to be notably complacent about the scale of potential turnover, with six out of 10 saying that it not a problem they need to address with any urgency.

This is despite the fact that according to 2101 research by PwC, replacing an employee who leaves costs approximately a year of that person's salary when all the costs associated with lost skills and productivity, cost of replacement and training of new recruits are taken into account.

"The lack of focus on turnover tells me that many top-level executives are not tuned into the widespread worker dissatisfaction found in so much recent research," said Sandi Edwards, Senior Vice President of AMA Enterprise.

"Are they being dangerously complacent? Or perhaps they've gotten used to hearing threats to leave from those who have felt overworked or under-appreciated during the economic downturn." "Intent to leave is a key indicator of engagement and commitment to the organization," she added.

What employers seem to be missing, she pointed out, is the simple fact that unhappy employees are under-performing employees.

"If management wants the best out of its people, they need to be aware of their stress and contribution levels. Management needs to work with them individually to understand what will meet their career goals along with what has to be done to drive the organization forward," she said.

The real challenge, Edwards argues, is not about overall turnover, but retaining those employees with critical talent and future potential,

"Forward thinking companies are seeking out these people and providing them with opportunities to stretch, grow and contribute their unique strengths. This form of employee development clearly demonstrates to these high value employees that they are important members of the organization and integral to future success. This is key to retention."

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Older Comments

Great job of explaining the current situation Brian and what executives don't seem to understand about the connection between retention and performance.

No one wants to leave a company that treats them with great respect and openly values them. Everyone wants to leave a company that treats them with disrespect, but the only ones who can find a better job are your best people so the poorer performers stay with you.

How to disrespect and disengage employees is simple - just act as an autocrat by not really listening to them, giving them orders, and not providing them the information they would truly like to have. How to treat employees with respect and cause them to choose to become fully engaged high performers (hundreds of percent performance gains) is likewise simple - provide them more than enough opportunity to voice their concerns and answer every one of those concerns to the satisfaction of the employee or better. This was my formula in turning around several management disasters and it worked like a charm each time. Each time the workforce became highly motivated, highly committed, and fully engaged with very high morale literally loving to come to work and at least 300% more productive than when only partially engaged.

Sadly and as you say Brian, most executives are not really interested in changing because they were promoted doing what they are doing and so feel change is not necessary. Best regards, Ben Simonton Leadership is a science

Ben Simonton