How to monitor employee turnover and improve employee retention

How To Monitor Turnover and Retention

Rachel Cwang Sep 7, 2017 7:08:00 AM

It’s not a big surprise that when we asked some top HR thought leaders about vital metrics for people analytics, many of them suggested employee turnover and retention. Most HR functions revolve around a communal goal to keep good employees within the company. But if this is a new area of focus, there can be a lot of questions. How should you go about monitoring these data points? And what can you do with that information? For anyone trying to get some insight into their turnover or employee retention numbers, here are a few things to consider:

The Data

Of course, the first thing you need to solidify is where and how this information will be tracked. You need one central place that keeps a tally of every employee that joins or leaves the organization and the date associated with each passage. Typically this is housed in a HRIS or HRMS but smaller companies may still be using Excel. The critical thing is that you are capturing it, constantly and accurately.

The Reasons Behind the Numbers

When we asked JoAnn Corley of the Human Sphere about the most important metric for a people analytics function to address, she told us “…if there is a compelling area, it would be retention -- why people are leaving and why are they staying.” It’s not enough to capture the numbers – you need to capture the context around those numbers. Develop a list of categories for why an employee might leave, and tag each exit to a particular category. This will help you to determine trends in the data. Obviously, the more information that you can capture about each case, the better, but you’ll need to simplify that information to display it on a graph.

Click here to get a free eBook with calculations for critical HR metrics, like cost of turnover, cost per hire, profit per employee, and more.

If retention is what you’re looking at, consider developing an employee survey that determines why they choose to stay. Comparing those reasons to the years that they’ve been with the company may tell an interesting story about your employer value proposition.

What Moves the Needle

The whole point of monitoring anything is to see whether you can create positive change. In order to do that, you need to establish baselines. If you plan on implementing an employee development initiative to reduce turnover, you first need to determine the current rate of turnover. Then, post-implementation, you can see if that rate has changed. If you need some help calculating these numbers, we have an eBook that can help.

Basically, you’re running tests. You have a hypothesis and a goal, you conduct the experiment, and then you evaluate the results. Consider testing some of the following:

  • increased 1:1 meetings with managers
  • health and wellness programs
  • new training opportunities

Of course, there are a million more ideas for your HR to try out. But in order to get backing for these tests, you’ll need clear goals and be able to prove return on investment. If your goal is to reduce turnover by 10%, how much money will that save the company – and how can you prove that your goal has been achieved? Monitoring your data will allow you to answer those questions.

People analytics doesn’t have to be overly complex. When it comes to turnover or retention, you simply record information diligently, capture context, and then try to improve upon your numbers. Once you’ve got this one down, you can work on improving another data point. Check out the full list of suggestions from HR influencers like Tim Sackett, Sharlyn Lauby, David Zinger and more. Soon, you'll be the people analytics superstar you were always meant to be!

Topics: Employee retention, Turnover, Talent Management

Rachel Cwang

Written by Rachel Cwang

Client Success Manager