What is Employee Turnover?

How to Measure It and What to Do

Employee Turnover

June 6th, 2019

Employee turnover is employees leaving a company voluntarily or involuntarily. Companies often calculate their turnover rate to gauge if they are at a sustainable level.

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Average Employee Turnover Rate by Industry 2019:


Turnover Rate

All Industries


All Government


All Private


Mining and Logging






Trade, Transportation, and Utilities




Financial Activities


Professional and Business Services


Education and Health Services


Leisure and Hospitality


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 2019, using Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) numbers, if you’re above 3.7 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 are 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.

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 are the types of employee turnover?

  • Voluntary – refers to employees who voluntarily resign, retire, or leave the company for another job.
  • Involuntary – refers to employees who are terminated, fired, or laid off.
  • Positive – positive turnover occurs when new employees re-energize the company, boost productivity, and replace low-performing employees.
  • Negative – negative turnover occurs when employees leave under negative circumstances, such as mass layoffs or mass resignation due to workplace conflict.

Is employee turnover good or bad?

Employee turnover is bad when employees leave under negative circumstances, such as mass layoffs or mass resignation due to workplace conflict. Positive employee turnover is when new employees re-energize the company, boost productivity, and replace low-performing employees.

What causes employee turnover?

  • Lack of advancement opportunities.
  • Poor management.
  • Staff conflict.
  • Lack of recognition.
  • Poor employee selection.
  • Lack of vision.
  • Work-life imbalance.
  • Micromanaging staff.
  • Instability in the company.
Calculating Your Employee Turnover Rate

How is employee turnover calculated?

To calculate employee turnover, 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.

What is employee turnover and retention?

Employee turnover is the proportion of your employees who leave during a certain period, whereas retention is the proportion that stays.

How To Decrease Employee Turnover

How can I decrease the employee turnover rate of my business?

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 Is Involuntary Employee Turnover

What does involuntary turnover mean?

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 when an employee quits or abandons a job.

What does employee turnover intention mean?

Turnover intention is simply defined as an employee's intention to voluntarily leave a job or organization.

How can HR help reduce my business's turnover rate?

  • Hire the right employees.
  • Improve onboarding and employee engagement.
  • Offer a competitive salary and benefits.
  • Involve employees in decision-making.
  • Share the company's vision, mission, and goals with employees.
  • Provide feedback and show appreciation for great work.
  • Provide opportunities for growth.
  • Offer flexible work hours, if possible.
  • Encourage work-life balance.