What Does a High Turnover Rate Say About Management?

by Ralph Heibutzki

A company experiences high turnover rates when it's always replacing staff, which is extremely costly. By examining why workers quit their jobs, it's possible to draw inferences about the environment they left behind, how their former employers treated them, and what kinds of growth opportunities existed. These insights can also prove valuable for employers struggling to reduce the threat of turnover to their own organizations.

Company Lacks Good Management

An employee's relationship with his supervisor is often the most decisive factor in assuring his loyalty, according to "Forbes" magazine's January 2012 article, "Why Your Employees Are Leaving." Good managers who connect with employees are more likely to retain them, even if they're making top money. Bad managers don't communicate regularly with their team members, or express appreciation for their work, which makes them more likely to quit.

Employee Workloads Are Too High

Turnover can serve as a wake-up call to revisit workloads that trigger significant burnout and stress, according to a 2006 survey by the National Council of Crime and Delinquency. The council interviewed 297 former child welfare and juvenile justice workers, to determine why they quit their jobs. Sixty-five percent of the participants identified large caseloads as a factor in their resignation, while an additional 35 percent would have stayed on the job if their workloads had been more manageable.

Jobs Don't Match Expectations

Thirty-five percent of 19,700 U.S. employees surveyed by the Saratoga Institute quit during the first six months because they don't like something about the job, management consultant Leigh Branham states in his February 2005 article, "The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave." This situation results when managers soft sell a job's less appealing aspects, asserts Branham, writing for the Center for Association Leadership. Once workers discover the truth, however, they're out the door, which further aggravates a company's turnover issues.

Opportunities Are Nonexistent

Opportunities for career advancement and growth play a key part in determining how long employees stay with a company. Eighty-five percent of the employees in the Saratoga Institute survey identified career growth as a key reward, but only 49 percent saw companies taking measures to promote it. Managers compound the problems by failing to praise employees who exceed expectations, Branham says. Staff members who feel devalued or unrecognized, in turn, are more likely to find an employer who acknowledges them.

Work Environment Is Stressful

A continual exodus of talent can indicate a stressful, unstable work environment of ever-changing job titles, workloads and supervisors. One reality of this situation is that some people lose their jobs, which doesn't inspire the survivors to put down roots, according to "Forbes" magazine. This situation also makes itself felt through departmental turf wars that pit employees against each other. Faced with these situations, employees will opt to go elsewhere than stay in an unhealthy atmosphere.

About the Author

Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.

Photo Credits

  • George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images