Employee retention is top-of-mind for nearly every organization, and it’s easy to see why—losing employees can mean losing valuable institutional knowledge, lower morale in remaining team members, and lost productivity.
Being mindful of the core issues that drive turnover goes a long way in improving retention. Here are some surprising and illuminating employee retention statistics you may not have heard, and some simple solutions to help you keep your team together
1. About 3 million Americans quit their job each month.
Not counting layoffs or any other types of involuntary termination, data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that three and a half million employees have left their job voluntarily every month since January 2019.
To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of the combined populations of Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, North Dakota, and Washington, DC handing in their resignation each month.
This level of voluntary turnover speaks to the magnitude of the retention issue that many organizations face. People leave their jobs for different reasons, and the better grasp you and your team have on those reasons, the better you’ll be able to keep great employees longer.
2. In a study of over 1,000 workers, 31% reported having quit a job within the first six months.
BambooHR surveyed over 1,000 currently employed Americans and found that nearly a third of them have left a job before crossing the half-year mark.
According to the research participants, the top reasons for leaving so soon after starting a new job were poor onboarding experiences, a lack of clarity surrounding job duties and expectations, or a less than stellar boss.
Transparency is a crucial element of trust, and trust is paramount in any relationship, including professional ones. If the first few days of an employee’s experience are punctuated by a breach of that trust, you can expect their tenure to be short. That's why it's crucial to ensure the work an employee signs up for is the work they'll actually be doing day-to-day.
A strategic onboarding program can also make a significant difference for newly-hired employees by providing clarity around their role, a community of trusted colleagues, and a clear path to success.
3. More than 50% of all organizations globally have difficulty retaining some of their most valued employee groups.
A recent Willis Towers Watson study shows that turnover is a nuanced issue. Although hiring has increased in recent years, turnover and attrition rates have also increased for many organizations. This is rough, but it's not just the number of employees who leave—it's the types of employees who leave, and the reasons why they're leaving that deserve a closer look.
If you have an exceptionally productive employee in your organization, it's crucial to recognize the massive value they're bringing to the table. If they're producing a prodigious amount of work but aren’t recognized or rewarded for it, they're likely going to fall into the high-retention-risk group at some point.
If they get the sense that their skills or productivity are being taken for granted, even the most efficient employees are susceptible to burnout. Then, that job offer plus a pay bump from your organization’s competitor is going to look more attractive each time it comes up.
4. 87% of HR leaders consider improved retention a critical or high priority for the next five years.
According to research by Kronos and Future Workplace, 87% of HR leaders are aware of the importance of employee retention and consider it a primary concern.
Despite that focus, progress for many organizations have been stymied by competing priorities and a lack of resources.
Technology debt and a lack of process automation tooling were cited as major roadblocks. Other factors included limited executive support and organizational vision.
5. The cost to replace a highly-trained employee can exceed 200% of their annual salary.
Turnover is expensive, no matter what type of position an employee holds. Estimates on the true cost of losing employees vary based on multiple factors, but recent research found that the cost of replacing highly-trained employees and executives can easily exceed double their annual salary.
One of the most effective ways to lower the cost of turnover is to lower the rate of turnover. Focus on fostering an engaging, rewarding work environment that inspires employees to believe in your mission and do their best work while they're on your team.