What is staff turnover?

Sound like a load of jargon to you? We explain staff turnover in simple terms

Put simply, staff turnover is the number of employees that leave your company and need replacing in a set amount of time.

But which is better, a low staff turnover or a high staff turnover? And what’s the ideal staff turnover rate? We investigate what your employee turnover could say about the happiness of your team.

What is a low workforce turnover?

A low workforce turnover is when a small number of employees leave your company in a set amount of time.

There’s no magic percentage that indicates a low worker turnover. But comparing your worker turnover rate with the UK’s average is a good place to start.

According to Monster, the UK’s average staff turnover rate is approximately 15% a year. This percentage might not represent your industry, but you could use it as a rough guide to see whether your workforce turnover is above or below average.

There’s nothing wrong with having a low worker turnover. In fact, a small number of leavers can be beneficial as it’ll bring in new people who are bursting with enthusiasm and fresh ideas.

But it’s important to look at who’s leaving your company. Valuable employees leaving your business will have a bigger impact than if lazy, unproductive staff leave.

What is a high workforce turnover?

A high workforce turnover—you’ve guessed it—is when a large number of employees leave your company in a set amount of time. If your worker turnover is higher than the UK’s average, you might have a problem.

A high worker turnover doesn’t necessarily mean your company is an awful place to work. Your employees might be retiring, going travelling or changing their career path. If so, there’s not much you can do about these leavers.

But if you’re losing valuable employees to a competitor or because they’re unhappy at work, you need to give your staff a reason to stay, before more leave. Every time an employee leaves your business, you’ll have to spend money hiring and training someone new.

Hold exit interviews with your staff to understand why they’re leaving and draw up a plan of how to encourage your staff to stay.

What is the ideal labour turnover?

It’s hard to say. Your ideal labour turnover will depend on your business and the industry you work in.

You could try to do some research on what’s the average labour turnover rate within your industry—as some will have a higher average turnover rate than others.

For example, if you own a clothing store then you might have a lot of young staff working for you. Young employees tend to stick around only until they leave for university or get another job, which could be why you have a high labour turnover.

If your labour turnover is higher than the industry average, you might want to look into why. But don’t get too hung up on the numbers.

Instead, focus your attention on making sure you keep loyal, hard-working employees. Find out how to improve your staff retention.


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