Laura Benjamin

Article Summary:

How can you lower your employee turnover and retention costs?

Employee Turnover and Retention Costs

1. Take a hard look at how your supervisors and managers are spending the majority of their time. Is it skewed towards "firefighting"? If so, the savings you achieve in resolving just ONE system or functional training gap may cut waste in half and prevent burnout at the same time.

2. Teach your supervisors/managers the "hard" and "soft" costs of employee turnover. Every time one qualified, previously committed employee walks out the door, it can range anywhere from 1.5 to 7 times their annual salary to replace them!

Costs can include: - advertising at $500-$2000 or higher per job posting - lost productivity as the new hire gets up to speed - dip in morale & productivity of co-workers & peers - loyal, lucrative customers who follow their point of contact over to your competition - impact on accident rates, health insurance experience, or disability incidents if the newcomer isn't quite as safe or healthy - manager's time interviewing, coaching, and training - co-workers who decide the grass might be greener elsewhere

3. Strike the concept, "No one is irreplaceable" from leadership language and organizational culture. It sends the message: "we don't really need you", "you can easily be replaced", "what you're doing for us doesn't matter that much", and "your value is limited".

4. In his book, "Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion" Richard Cialdini cites studies of tribal culture and college fraternity initiation rites. It seems that the harder it is to be accepted into an organization, the tougher the "initiation rite", the more demanding the requirements once inside, and the more highly prized acceptance becomes.

Significantly, it is then more likely that those who raise constructive concerns or decide to leave are told "you just can't hack it here." It becomes more of a reflection on their competence and character rather than a reality check on organizational environment and practices.

Interesting, eh?

Laura Benjamin works with leaders, managers, and business owners who want new ways to develop and retain top talent. She speaks throughout North America and Europe for corporations, government agencies, and professional trade associations. Subscribe to her free Management Tips newsletter at

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