Employee Turnover

How to Measure It and What to Do

Employee Turnover
Learn how to measure your turnover rate, with industry averages to compare yours to, see what a high rate is, and discover what you can do about it.

Last updated November 27th, 2017

Employee turnover is simply employees leaving and needing to be replaced. Companies often calculate their turnover rate to gauge if they are at a sustainable level.

Calculating Your Employee Turnover Rate:
Calculating Your Employee Turnover Rate

Employee turnover is simple to calculate. Simply divide the number of employees who left during a time period by the total number at the company and multiply the result by 100. So, if 10 employees leave, and there were 100 total, you’d have a 10 percent turnover rate.

Average Employee Turnover Rates 2017:
Average Employee Turnover Rates 2017
Industry Turnover Rate
All Industries 3.6%
All Government 1.5%
All Private 3.9%
Mining and Logging 3.9%
Construction 5.1%
Manufacturing 2.4%
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 3.6%
Information 2.9%
Financial Activities 2.5%
Professional and Business Services 5.1%
Education and Health Services 2.7%
Leisure and Hospitality 6.2%

What is a high turnover rate?

A high turnover rate is anything above your industry norm, or, if that data is not available, above the nationwide average. So as of 2017, using BLS numbers, if you’re above 3.6 percent, you’ve got high turnover in a general sense, but this could be normal for your industry.

How to Tell When Employees are Going to Turn Over:

  • Work focus decreases.
  • Negativity increases.
  • They reluctant to commit to long-term deadlines.
  • Work productivity decreases.
  • They do the minimum amount of work acceptable.
  • They don't work well with colleagues.
  • They leave work early.
  • They don't work to please customers.

If managers are aware of these indicators, they can look out for them. If an employee is showing signs that they may turnover, it may be possible to intervene, find out what can be done, and prevent that turnover from happening.

Company-wide you can watch for a decrease in productivity, an increase in early outs, and a decrease in customer satisfaction as indicators that you may have a turnover issue on the horizon.

You may also want to keep an eye on sites like Glassdoor, where employees can rate and review employers. A sudden downturn in your ratings can be an indicator of coming turnover, and you can read reviews to see exactly what’s bothering your employees.

How to Decrease Employee Turnover:
How To Decrease Employee Turnover

Knowing your employer turnover rate will tell you if you already have a problem, and how big it is, but it won’t give you a way to deal with it. Ideally, you’ll spot trends that indicate that employees are about to turnover, and take steps to reduce it.

What to do if You Think an Employee Will Turn Over:

Ask if there are any problems you can fix. If they are underpaid compared to what they can earn at other companies, try to fix it. See if you can offer perks or benefits, such as a more flexible schedule, work from home days, or new equipment.

What is Involuntary Employee Turnover?
What Is Involuntary Employee Turnover

Involuntary turnover means an employee was terminated, fired, or laid off. It is part of your overall turnover, and is sometimes calculated separately as a way to check on recruiting effectiveness. Involuntary turnover does not include employee quits or job abandonment.