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."