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Up to 80% of staff turnover is avoidable

Staff turnover

We’ve just released our latest Retention Review that reveals Australian organisations can influence and have the power to change 80% of their staff turnover. In a low growth economy, with significant pressures on organisations to increase productivity and reduce costs, extra focus on reducing staff turnover is essential.

Organisations that reduce turnover by just 5% (e.g. from 18% to 13%) can save around $2.8 million per year for every 1,000 people they employ*. This should be achievable for many Australian companies as our exit survey research shows 80% of turnover is within their control.

Another key finding is that job enrichment and flexibility are more important than most employers realise if they want to retain their high performers. Our research found employees leave primarily due to the job itself and not for reasons such as pay and conditions or relationships with managers or peers. If a job is inherently unfulfilling or unsatisfying it’s highly likely that employees will look elsewhere for other opportunities, no matter what incentives are in place.

The Retention Review also reveals the importance of home life factors to all job leavers. We expect to see women rate reasons such as family and other life circumstances as drivers for leaving (47%) but 40% of men also say home life reasons played a major part in leaving.

Other key findings of the Retention Review are:

  • People still leave primarily because of the job itself, with 51% rating job enrichment as most important
  • Gen Y’s top reasons for leaving are career opportunities and better job offers, while Gen X and Baby Boomers say job satisfaction is most important
  • Industry spotlight: job enrichment is the main driver for financial services and engineering employees; home life is valued most by the retail sector; and community services employees leave because of work stress and to find work-life balance
  • The growing part-time workforce grapple to find work-life balance whilst seeking career opportunities and job satisfaction

Reducing staff turnover is not just an HR issue; it requires the focus and attention of the whole executive team, supported by managers at all levels. There are five essential steps organisations can take to reduce staff turnover and improve internal efficiencies, customer relationships and profitability:

  1. Measure and analyse staff turnover to understand the unique causes in your organisation, then create a clear retention roadmap to set achievable retention targets
  2. Create enriching and meaningful jobs that enable staff to make a difference and allows the right people to be matched with the right job
  3. Accommodate home life circumstances by being creative with flexible work arrangements
  4. Nurture an inclusive and positive workplace culture with a strong EVP
  5. Enable and recognise performance and ensure the necessary resources are available for employees to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.


*Staff turnover costs an organisation with 1,000 employees around $10 million per annum, assuming a staff turnover rate of 18%, an average salary of $75,000 and a conservative turnover cost per employee of 75% of annual salary (including the cost of recruitment, selection, induction, training and lost productivity whilst getting up to speed).

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