Turnover Rate

June 8, 2023
Hiring & Recruiting
Optimize your workforce with a deep understanding of turnover rate. Learn how to calculate, reduce, and manage employee churn effectively.

What is Turnover Rate?

Turnover rate, also referred to as employee churn or employee attrition, is a key metric that measures the frequency at which employees leave a company within a specific period. It is calculated by dividing the number of employees who leave the organization during a given time frame by the average number of employees during that same period. The result is typically expressed as a percentage.

Turnover rate provides valuable insights into the stability of an organization's workforce and the effectiveness of its talent management strategies. By analyzing turnover rates, HR professionals and hiring managers can assess the impact of employee departures, identify trends or patterns, and make data-driven decisions to improve retention efforts.

Importance of Turnover Rate

Understanding and monitoring turnover rate is of paramount importance for HR professionals and hiring managers for several reasons:

  1. Workforce Planning: Turnover rate data helps HR professionals forecast future talent needs and plan recruitment strategies accordingly. By anticipating turnover, organizations can proactively address staffing gaps and minimize disruptions to business operations.
  2. Cost Analysis: High turnover rates can result in substantial financial implications for organizations. By calculating the cost of turnover, including recruitment, training, and productivity loss, HR professionals can quantify the impact and make a compelling case for investing in retention initiatives.
  3. Talent Acquisition and Retention: Turnover rate data allows HR professionals and hiring managers to evaluate the effectiveness of their talent acquisition and retention strategies. By identifying areas with high turnover, they can tailor recruitment efforts and implement targeted retention programs to attract and retain top talent.
  4. Organizational Culture and Employee Engagement: High turnover rates can negatively affect organizational culture and employee morale. HR professionals can use turnover rate data to identify areas where improvements are needed, such as employee engagement initiatives, leadership development, or work-life balance programs.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Regularly monitoring turnover rates enables HR professionals and hiring managers to track the effectiveness of their retention strategies over time. It provides an opportunity to assess the impact of implemented initiatives, make necessary adjustments, and continuously improve employee retention efforts.

By understanding the importance of turnover rate and leveraging the insights it provides, HR professionals and hiring managers can take proactive measures to reduce turnover, improve employee satisfaction, and create a more stable and productive workforce.

Types of Turnover Rates

Overall Turnover Rate

The overall turnover rate represents the total percentage of employees who leave an organization within a specific time frame. It encompasses both voluntary and involuntary turnover.

Voluntary Turnover Rate

Voluntary turnover rate refers to the percentage of employees who choose to leave an organization voluntarily. These departures can result from factors such as job dissatisfaction, limited growth opportunities, lack of work-life balance, or better offers from other companies.

Involuntary Turnover Rate

Involuntary turnover rate accounts for the percentage of employees who are terminated or laid off by the organization. This can occur due to poor performance, misconduct, downsizing, or restructuring.

Internal Turnover Rate

Internal turnover rate measures the percentage of employees who move to different positions or departments within the same organization. While it may not necessarily be considered negative, high internal turnover can indicate a lack of employee engagement or dissatisfaction.

External Turnover Rate

External turnover rate represents the percentage of employees who leave the organization to pursue opportunities outside of the company. This can be a result of factors such as career advancement, better compensation, or relocation.

How to Calculate Turnover Rate?

Calculating turnover rate accurately is essential for HR professionals and hiring managers to gain insights into employee attrition and make informed decisions. Here is how to calculate turnover rate effectively step-by-step:

  1. Determine the Time Period: Define the specific time frame for calculating the turnover rate. It can be monthly, quarterly, or annually, depending on your organization's needs and industry standards.
  2. Gather Data: Collect the necessary data to calculate turnover rate. You will need the following information:
  3. Number of Employees at the Beginning: Count the total number of employees at the start of the designated time period.
  4. Number of Employees at the End: Count the total number of employees at the end of the same time period.
  5. Number of Employees Who Left: Determine the total number of employees who left during the specified time frame.
  6. Calculate Average Number of Employees: To get a more accurate turnover rate, calculate the average number of employees during the chosen time period. Add the number of employees at the beginning and end, then divide the sum by two.
  7. Determine the Number of Employees Who Left: Subtract the number of employees at the end of the period from the number of employees at the beginning to find the total number of employees who left the organization.
  8. Calculate the Turnover Rate: Divide the number of employees who left by the average number of employees, and then multiply the result by 100 to express it as a percentage. The formula for calculating turnover rate is:
Turnover Rate = (Number of Employees Who Left / Average Number of Employees) * 100

For example, if you had 100 employees at the beginning of the quarter, 10 employees left during that period, and you ended with 95 employees, the calculation would be as follows:

Turnover Rate = (10 / ((100 + 95) / 2)) * 100 = (10 / 97.5) * 100 = 10.26%

It's important to note that different turnover rates may be calculated separately for voluntary and involuntary turnover, as well as for specific departments or job roles within an organization.

What is a High Turnover Rate?

High turnover rate refers to an elevated or above-average rate at which employees leave an organization within a specific time period. It is a relative measure that varies across industries and job roles. While there is no universally defined threshold for what constitutes a high turnover rate, it is generally considered problematic when it exceeds industry benchmarks or significantly disrupts organizational stability.

Determining whether a turnover rate is high requires considering several factors, including industry norms, company size, and historical data. A high turnover rate can have various implications for an organization, such as increased recruitment and training costs, reduced productivity, decreased employee morale, and potential damage to the organization's reputation.

To evaluate whether a turnover rate is high, HR professionals and hiring managers typically compare it to industry benchmarks. These benchmarks provide a reference point for understanding what is considered typical within a specific sector. However, it's important to note that turnover rates can vary significantly depending on factors such as company culture, job market conditions, and the nature of the work itself.

Additionally, high turnover rates may be more concerning for certain roles or departments within an organization. For example, high turnover among critical positions or key contributors can have a more substantial impact on overall organizational performance.

Factors Affecting Turnover Rate

Various internal and external factors can significantly impact turnover rates within an organization. Understanding these factors helps HR professionals and hiring managers develop effective strategies to mitigate turnover. Let's explore the key factors:

Internal Factors

  1. Job Satisfaction: Employee satisfaction plays a vital role in turnover. When employees are dissatisfied with their work environment, compensation, or growth opportunities, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.
  2. Employee Engagement: Engaged employees feel a sense of connection, purpose, and commitment to their work and the organization. High levels of employee engagement are associated with lower turnover rates.
  3. Compensation and Benefits: Competitive compensation and comprehensive benefits packages are crucial for attracting and retaining talented employees. Inadequate compensation or lack of desirable benefits can contribute to turnover.
  4. Career Development Opportunities: Employees seek growth and advancement opportunities within their organizations. A lack of opportunities for career development can lead to employee dissatisfaction and increased turnover.

External Factors

  1. Labor Market Conditions: The availability of job opportunities in the labor market can impact turnover rates. In a tight labor market with many job openings, employees may have more options and be more inclined to switch jobs.
  2. Industry Competition: Industries with high competition for talent may experience higher turnover rates. Organizations operating in competitive industries must differentiate themselves and offer attractive incentives to retain employees.
  3. Economic Factors: Economic conditions, such as recessions or economic downturns, can influence turnover rates. In uncertain economic times, employees may be more cautious about changing jobs, resulting in lower turnover rates. Conversely, during economic upswings, turnover rates may increase as more opportunities become available.

Understanding these factors enables HR professionals and hiring managers to implement targeted strategies to address specific issues and improve retention rates.

Implications of High Turnover Rate

High turnover can have significant implications for organizations. Recognizing these implications allows HR professionals and hiring managers to comprehend the true cost of turnover and prioritize efforts to reduce it. The following are some key implications of high turnover:

Cost Considerations

  1. Recruitment and Onboarding Costs: Hiring new employees incurs expenses associated with job postings, background checks, interviews, and onboarding processes.
  2. Training Costs: Organizations invest time and resources in training new employees to ensure they can perform their roles effectively. High turnover requires frequent training, resulting in increased costs.
  3. Productivity Loss: When employees leave, there is a temporary loss of productivity until replacements are hired and trained. This can impact overall organizational performance and employee morale.

Impact on Employee Morale and Productivity

Frequent turnover can negatively affect employee morale and motivation. It creates an unstable work environment and can lead to decreased productivity, lower team cohesion, and increased stress levels.

Effects on Organizational Culture and Reputation

High turnover rates can erode organizational culture and affect the employer brand. If employees perceive the company as having a revolving door of talent, it can damage its reputation and make it harder to attract top talent in the future.

It is essential for HR professionals and hiring managers to understand these implications to justify the investment in retention strategies and create a compelling business case for reducing turnover.

Strategies to Reduce Turnover Rate

Reducing turnover requires a proactive and multifaceted approach. The following strategies can help HR professionals and hiring managers mitigate turnover and enhance employee retention:

Improving Recruitment and Selection Processes

  • Develop targeted job descriptions and requirements that accurately reflect the role and attract candidates with the right skills and cultural fit.
  • Streamline the application and interview processes to ensure efficiency and a positive candidate experience.

Enhancing Employee Engagement and Retention

  • Implement employee recognition and rewards programs to acknowledge and appreciate employee contributions.
  • Provide opportunities for skill development and growth through training programs, mentorship initiatives, and career advancement pathways.

Offering Competitive Compensation and Benefits

  • Regularly benchmark salaries against industry standards to ensure competitiveness.
  • Design comprehensive benefits packages that cater to employees' needs and priorities.

Providing Career Development Opportunities

  • Offer internal training programs and cross-functional opportunities for employees to develop new skills and advance their careers within the organization.
  • Establish mentoring and coaching initiatives to support employees in their professional growth.

Conducting Exit Interviews and Analyzing Feedback

  • Conduct thorough exit interviews to gather insights from departing employees about their reasons for leaving.
  • Analyze feedback to identify patterns and areas for improvement, enabling proactive measures to address underlying issues.

By implementing these strategies, organizations can create a more engaging and supportive work environment, enhancing employee satisfaction and reducing turnover rates.

Monitoring and Benchmarking Turnover Rate

To effectively manage turnover, HR professionals and hiring managers should monitor turnover rates and compare them to industry benchmarks. This allows organizations to identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. Here are some key steps:

  1. Establish a Baseline Turnover Rate: Calculate the turnover rate for a specific time period to establish a baseline. This serves as a reference point for future comparisons.
  2. Compare Turnover Rate to Industry Benchmarks: Research industry-specific turnover benchmarks to determine how an organization's turnover rate compares to industry norms. This provides context and identifies areas of concern.
  3. Analyze Trends and Patterns: Continuously monitor turnover rates over time to identify trends and patterns. This analysis can uncover insights into factors influencing turnover and help guide targeted retention strategies.

Employee Retention Best Practices

In addition to specific strategies for reducing turnover, there are some general best practices for employee retention that HR professionals and hiring managers can adopt:

Building a Positive Work Environment

  • Foster a positive and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued, respected, and supported.
  • Encourage open communication, collaboration, and teamwork to enhance employee satisfaction and engagement.

Fostering Strong Leadership and Management

  • Train and support managers to effectively lead and manage their teams.
  • Provide ongoing feedback and coaching to ensure employees have the guidance they need for success.

Promoting Work-Life Balance

  • Encourage work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, paid time off, and wellness programs.
  • Emphasize the importance of self-care and stress management to support employees' overall well-being.

Encouraging Open Communication and Feedback

  • Establish regular channels for employee feedback, such as surveys or suggestion boxes.
  • Actively listen to employee concerns and address them promptly to demonstrate a commitment to their satisfaction and growth.

By implementing these best practices, organizations can create a supportive and engaging work environment that fosters employee loyalty and reduces turnover.


Managing turnover rate is a critical aspect of talent management for HR professionals and hiring managers. By understanding the different types of turnover rates, calculating turnover accurately, considering factors that influence turnover, recognizing the implications of high turnover, implementing effective strategies, and adopting best practices for employee retention, organizations can reduce turnover, improve employee satisfaction, and create a stable and productive workforce.

Embracing these practices will not only yield financial benefits but also enhance organizational culture, reputation, and long-term success. It is essential for HR professionals and hiring managers to prioritize turnover reduction efforts and invest in retention strategies to attract and retain top talent in today's competitive employment landscape.