Can Your Organization Avoid the High Cost of Unexpected Turnover?

Nearly every day, employers are left scratching their heads when an otherwise loyal employee walks off the job. Employees may leave for a number of personal and professional reasons, including lack of upward mobility, poor management, or just simply becoming bored with the work over time. There can be other underlying issues that the employee may not have felt comfortable bringing up, such as conflicts with co-workers or policies.

The Washington Post reports that employees are “ghosting” employers at an alarmingly increasing rate. Younger employees often slip out the back door without so much as a text message. If this is becoming the norm, what could it potentially cost your business?

Calculating the cost of unexpected employee turnover

The cost of unexpected employee turnover is shockingly high. Here is a good calculator you can use to estimate the cost of an employee who leaves without warning.

It’s not just a matter of costing one-half a year’s salary, when losing an employee. Oh no, there are many hidden costs when an employee leaves without notice. First, there are the weeks of lower productivity that often lead up to the event. Then there are the hours spent on company time looking for another job. Once the employee has made up his mind, he looks for ways to get out of new tasks and projects. The employee may become negative, bringing morale down with other employees, at a cost to the company. Then the employee leaves and it takes weeks for the manager to determine what work is left to complete, who he can allocate the work too, and how this will impact the team. HR then has the task of starting recruitment efforts to find a replacement, an effort that can take as long as a month or more.

Worse yet, what if the unexpected departure happens to be a member of the executive leadership team? Imagine the disruption and negative impact this can (and does) have on organizations.

Why employees leave without warning

Interestingly enough, it’s factors that employers can control that often determine if employees decide to leave or not. Things like compensation, for example. Mercer’s 2018/2019 U.S. Compensation Planning Survey of more than 1,500 employers revealed that they plan to increase promotion budgets by about 3.4% this year. Most of the increases will go to mid-level employees and above, the hardest to replace. Mercer’s research also shows most employees voluntarily leave organizations because of dissatisfaction over base pay, lack of promotion opportunity, and to pursue a career change.

There can be problems with the culture of an organization too. A leadership team that demands too much from employees, but rarely recognizes the efforts of employees is headed for doom. A Gallup Poll found that two-thirds of all full time employees often feel burnt out at work, and they are 63 percent more likely to call out sick and 50 percent less likely to discuss their performance goals with a manager.

Multi-generational values that place emphasis on certain work styles, ideas about work life balance, or respect can also cause employees to seek employment elsewhere.

What can an employer do to prevent unexpected employee turnover?

With all the costs and factors involved, employers must make efforts to decrease unexpected turnover. Some of the ways to accomplish this have less to do with crunching numbers and more to do with communication. Think about it. The reasons people leave have a lot to do with not having a safe outlet for expressing themselves at work. It can be difficult to discuss things like pay and performance with a manager, because these are sensitive topics to bring up.

Many managers are too busy to take the time to recognize their employees so they just hope the loyal employees will stay happy. Sticking your head in the sand is never the best policy in HR.

What would change in your organization if there was a safe space for employees to express their feelings, ideas, and concerns? This could make a major difference if an employee is considering leaving. There is a solution. Employee engagement software that can be accessed anytime and anywhere enables employees to share their minds freely. Even if they just feel comfortable sending a message. This gives employees a voice and they know it will be heard. Just saving one employee through better internal communication can save a lot of money if the employee is taken seriously. This also gives HR a chance to be proactive when it comes to retention by measuring the collective mood of the employees — spotting any trouble ahead of time.

A real-time employee engagement system can save any company a significant amount of time and money, as well as improve productivity and team morale. It can prevent a serious disruption in an organization’s operations.


Thymometrics is a new breed of disruptive employee feedback technology. Through real time, always-on surveys and feedback solutions, we provide revolutionary yet simple tools to empower employees whilst providing managers with deep and useable insights to improve business culture, staff well-being, productivity and profitability.

For more information, please call 01223 750251, email info@thymometrics.com or visit thymometrics.com.

Photo by Alesia Kazantceva on Unsplash.

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