Glossary of HR Terms

Looking to brush up on all the latest HR acronyms, buzzwords, and common terms? This glossary is for you, sort of like the ABCs of HR. It's everything you need to know in the realm of employee experience and human connection, defined in easy-to-understand language.


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Employee Turnover

HR Tactics to Curtail Employee Turnover

What Can HR Do to Reduce Employee Turnover?

Reducing employee turnover isn’t just about the bottom line — it’s an opportunity to make the workplace better for everyone. By keeping talented, high-performing employees, you can create a positive, collaborative environment that encourages growth and innovation. Plus, you can foster a sense of belonging and loyalty that goes beyond a paycheck.

For HR leaders, this means taking a hard look at your employee retention strategies. With the right approach, you can make meaningful changes that keep your team engaged and motivated.

Learn more about what employee turnover is, what causes it, and how you can apply strategies to reduce employee turnover in your organization.

What Is Employee Turnover?

Employee turnover occurs when employees leave an organization voluntarily or involuntarily. As a metric, turnover is typically measured as a percentage of total employees who leave over a specified length of time.

Turnover is one of the most important metrics HR tracks. Your turnover rate says a lot about the state of employee engagement and retention, not to mention the organization’s overall health. High turnover can indicate low engagement among employees, which contributes to higher costs for recruitment and training. Additionally, high turnover reduces organizational continuity and can hurt employee morale and productivity.

You can calculate employee turnover by dividing the total number of employees that have left the organization over a given period by the number of employees at the beginning of that period. This figure is then multiplied by 100 to give the percentage of employees that have left the organization. For example, if an organization has 100 employees at the beginning of the year and 10 employees leave by the end of the year, the employee turnover rate would be 10%.

Curious how much employee turnover is costing your business? Use our calculator to find out now!

What Causes Employee Turnover?

Employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons — and those differ by organization. But there are a few repeat offenders you’re likely to see time and again in surveys and exit interviews.

Check out what HR leaders report as the leading causes of employee turnover.

Inadequate Compensation

Compensation is a common reason for employees to leave their jobs. Pay doesn’t necessarily have to exceed the norm, but it should fall within a competitive range. Total compensation includes areas other than salary, such as health insurance or retirement plan offerings, and is another factor in employee turnover.

If employees aren’t appropriately compensated, they might feel undervalued, which can cause them to disengage. Suitable compensation is a critical component of a comprehensive employee value proposition and retention strategy.

Unclear Career Paths

Many employees would like to advance and grow within their organization. But they can struggle to visualize a path for advancement internally, instead turning to external opportunities.

Employees want to know what their career options are and how to access them. Many companies lose their top performers because those employees don’t realize they can reach their full potential within the organization.

Low Flexibility

Employees increasingly expect flexible work schedules that give them some control over when, where, and how they work. Not everyone thrives under the same conditions, and employees can find success with many different types of schedules. If your expectations are too rigid, employees will look for flexible options elsewhere.

Disconnected Company Culture

We spend a lot of time at work, and employees crave an emotional connection with their employers and colleagues. But creating connections can be difficult to initiate and maintain in fractured company cultures. In some cases, hybrid and remote work environments further complicate this effort. If your employees feel isolated or disconnected from the company vision, values, and purpose, they’re at a higher risk of disengaging and quitting.

Who’s Who in Improving Employee Retention

There are several players involved in supporting employee retention, from the company’s leadership on down. Here’s your guide to the most important people responsible for reducing employee turnover.

Company Leaders Set the Tone

Company leaders serve as role models for positive work environments. What leaders prioritize signals to employees what matters and what’s rewarded. If employees see leaders being transparent about pay and providing remote work opportunities, for example, they’ll feel that fair treatment and flexibility are valued. That goes a long way toward improving employee retention.

Leadership visibility and accessibility play a role in retention, too. Employees want to interact with leaders, share their ideas, and receive acknowledgement and recognition for their work. The more present and supportive company leaders are, the more engaged your workforce will be.

HR Fosters Connections and Experiences

HR is essential to employee retention, as so many employees leave their jobs because of poor people decisions and processes. There are several ways HR can encourage retention.

HR can cultivate a culture of inclusion to help employees feel a sense of belonging and acceptance in the workplace. The department can also create initiatives that encourage employee connections, such as by organizing intentional, community-driven experiences. Develop programs that foster professional development and networking opportunities so that employees see that you’re invested in their growth.

Managers Help Employees Feel at Home

Managers are the biggest variable in employee turnover. Great managers help team members excel in daily performance, support employees through recognition and feedback, and connect them with growth opportunities.

Of course, HR plays an important role here, too — managers need formal training and other resources to support their people, especially in hybrid and remote work environments. This training extends to performance management and giving feedback in the flow of work rather than long after the fact.

If a manager delivers a negative performance review while citing months-old actions, for example, the employee may feel blindsided and confused. But offering feedback immediately or soon after the action is taken can help employees learn from the experience while feeling supported by feedback.

Team Members Make Connections

The strongest connections employees have are the bonds formed with peers. To support retention, encourage team members to get to know each other personally and professionally.

Start by ensuring opportunities for team members to solve work problems together and to exchange feedback. Depending on your workplace, you might encourage informal conversations during work hours or other socialization opportunities that help team members learn more about each other’s interests and motivations.

5 Strategies to Reduce Employee Turnover Rates

Strategies are comprehensive action plans aligned to business needs. An employee retention strategy is a set of tactics that HR leaders can use to encourage employees to stay with the organization.

Once you know what’s causing turnover in your organization, you can develop a strategy to counter the trend. Here are some examples of this in practice.

Develop a Compensation Philosophy

Fair pay is a big factor in voluntary employee turnover. When employees understand the reasoning behind compensation decisions and have transparency into how pay correlates to job duties and career trajectories, they’re more likely to perceive compensation decisions as fair.

Outlining your compensation philosophy can help. Start by developing objectives for compensation that are in line with your organization’s goals. Provide clear rationales for compensation decisions based on relevant factors such as job descriptions and role expectations. Communicate your compensation philosophy clearly to employees, and be transparent with candidates, too. Being open about pay throughout the employee life cycle helps build trust from the beginning of the relationship.

Create Clear Paths for Career Development

Align transparent career paths with your organizational chart to help people see how they can move and grow within the company. Clearly outline the specific skills, knowledge, and abilities team members need to qualify for each role.

Establish an internal promotion policy that rewards employees who have acquired new skills or demonstrated their commitment to the company. Or create a workplace mentoring program that allows employees to learn from more experienced colleagues in other roles.

Provide Opportunities for Flexible Work

Employees don’t like to be micromanaged. Where possible, give employees freedom to figure out how they work best instead of telling them when, where, and how to do their work.

Train managers to help employees find their own “flow” by asking thoughtful questions and promoting opportunities to experiment. Not only does this improve the employee experience and reduce the risk of turnover, it also enables higher performance.

Connect Employees in the Flow of Work

Connection is critical to a positive employee experience. Facilitate opportunities for employees to connect through intentional programs, processes, and tools.

From day one, connect employees with mentors or coaches who can help them grow within the organization. This can take many forms — relevant industry content, conversation prompts from your workforce management software, or suggestions to connect with co-workers with similar professional and personal interests.

Create a Healthy, Inclusive Culture

An inclusive culture is one where team members feel safe speaking up, sharing ideas, and asking for what they need. Examine whether your culture lives up to these ideals and what you need to improve. For example, you might develop a recognition program to highlight and reward employee contributions to the workplace culture.

Provide employees with a platform where they can provide feedback on company policies, processes, behaviors, and other workplace issues in a safe, judgment-free space. Whenever possible, point employees to resources that support their mental and physical health.

How to Get Started With Your Employee Retention Strategy

Now that you’ve seen some strategies for reducing employee turnover, it’s time to develop your own. Take these steps to get the ball rolling.

Identify Your Unique Drivers of Turnover

Develop an Action Plan to Reduce Employee Turnover

You can’t develop a strategy to reduce employee turnover until you know what’s causing it. Analyze employee turnover data to identify the most common reasons employees leave. Identify patterns in the types of employees who are leaving, such as job roles or seniority levels. This might indicate trouble in a specific department or division of the company.

Feedback from employee surveys, exit interviews, and other qualitative channels can help HR leaders understand what’s motivating employee disengagement or departures. Consider external factors, such as pay and job opportunities, and how you might address shortcomings or disparities.

Identify the current turnover rate, and create a goal for improvement. Be specific about what success looks like for your retention strategy. The end result should be an action plan with short-, medium-, and long-term goals. For each goal, name specific metrics that will indicate success.

As part of this plan, map out the range of expected outcomes and how you’ll prepare for contingencies.

Put Your Employee Retention Plan in Motion

Develop a timeline for rolling out ongoing employee retention initiatives. Identify the objectives that are most important to accomplish first. Consider where you might have the biggest impact and most quickly. If your greatest driver of turnover is lack of growth opportunities, for example, you might prioritize creating career pathways, developing content to communicate their existence, and sharing how employees can pursue them.

Make sure you’re tracking progress with regular reporting. Encourage accountability by assigning responsibility for every step.

Finally, as you roll out your employee retention strategy, let employees know how they can ask questions or offer feedback — and how you’ll incorporate that feedback.

Create a Culture With Staying Power

By creating a positive work environment, organizations can ensure that employees remain motivated and fulfilled within your organization. Schedule your demo of Enboarder® today and learn how the Human Connection Platform® can help you improve employee happiness and reduce employee turnover.