Top 5 Employee Turnover Myths

February 23, 2015 in HR Best Practices



Karaka Leslie, a product manager at PayScale (a compensation data and software company), looks at the top five employee turnover myths.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding employee turnover. Some “experts” recommend employers keep an almost hyper vigilant watch on turnover rates, while others recommend employers stop worrying about the rates altogether!

Despite all the talk, however, nobody has come up with a foolproof solution for resolving high turnover. The needs, desires, and perceptions of your employees contribute to your rates, which makes solving the problem of high turnover more difficult than one might assume.

That said, some misinformation is more harmful than others. Here are the top five myths to avoid taking at face value.

Low turnover means your employees like their jobs.

One would think that all the time, energy, and effort spent recruiting employees would amount to a workforce where everyone is a perfect fit. Not so! While this is a nice idea, the truth is low turnover could simply mean your employees can’t find jobs they want. That’s why turnover isn’t always a bad thing. When employees become disengaged, disgruntled, and (sorry) lazy but stay put, productivity decreases and their negativity impacts the entire work environment. One weak link will drag the rest of the team down, so a higher turnover rate is a better bet than a crop of toxic long-term employees.

MYTH #2.
If an employee leaves your company, he or she was never a good fit to begin with.

Sure, sometimes a person just isn’t as right for the job as you’d hoped, but your first thought as the employee heads for the door shouldn’t be, “Well, he didn’t really belong anyway.” It’s probably more likely that business processes or company culture is the root cause of the employee’s departure. Poor management, inadequate training, or incomplete onboarding will lead to turnover more often than “poor fit.”

MYTH #3.
Employee turnover is on the rise.

Rumor has it that turnover has been skyrocketing within the last few years as a result of the recovering economy. However, in fact, turnover rates have remained relatively stable. A study done by SHRM found that between 2009 and 2011, employee turnover fluctuated approximately 2%. Employee turnover is an inevitable part of doing business, as employees will always have reasons to change jobs, but it’s not an expanding problem.

MYTH #4.
Employees primarily leave jobs for more money.

Of course some employees leave their jobs after being offered more money by another company, but money isn’t the main cause of turnover. Statistics show that employees are far more likely to remain at or leave a company because of their relationship with their manager or opportunities for growth.

MYTH #5.
Employee turnover is unpredictable.

You can’t always know beforehand that an employee has decided to leave. However, you can plan for a certain amount of employee turnover. One way to go about this is to evaluate your turnover rates from past years and use the percentage to forecast future rates.

Doing so can help budget for recruiting costs and determine how much time HR needs to devote to managing employee turnover.

Your company’s turnover rate is a significant number, especially as it relates to employee satisfaction and recruiting costs.

Still, when evaluating the issues that contribute to turnover within your business, it’s important not to get sucked into some of the myths being paraded around. Each company is different, and you should consider the unique needs of your organization before determining whether your turnover rates are alarmingly high, alarmingly low, or just right.