Table of Contents
Watch the world’s largest HR encyclopedia be built in real-time
Subscribe to get a weekly roundup email of all our new entries
What Is Voluntary Turnover?
Voluntary turnover is an HR metric that measures the amount of a company’s workforce who end their employment for their own reasons and not the company’s reasons.
Primary Causes of Voluntary Turnover
An employee can end their employment for any reason. This section discusses five common reasons you may see at your organization.
An employee can experience job dissatisfaction if they lack interest in their job or are overwhelmed by the stress associated with it.
Some positions only progress to a certain title or level of responsibility. Employees may leave to find a position that allows them to continue to advance their careers.
Employees leave when they realize competitors pay better and/or have better benefits.
An employee who feels bullied or harassed by a stressful relationship with their manager may feel resentful and leave the organization.
Lack of Flexibility
The kids get home from school, dentist appointments, the plumber is scheduled to come Tuesday—no one wants to schedule their life around their job. Employers who don’t provide flexibility may see an increase in voluntary turnover.
How to Calculate Voluntary Turnover
Collecting a few numbers and doing some quick math will give you the voluntary turnover rate for your organization. Here’s how.
Step 1: Data Collection
In your HRIS system or other data-storage methods, you will have a record of terminations and a description of whether they were voluntary or involuntary. Find the total count for the previous 12 months (i.e., 25 employees left voluntarily in the last 12 months).
Second, you need to know the total employee headcount at the beginning of the same 12-month period (i.e., 250 total employees)
Step 2: Divide
Time for some math. Divide the number of employees who left voluntarily by the total employee headcount at the beginning of the 12 month period.
Example: 25 terminated employees / 250 total employees = 0.10
Step 3: Multiply by 100
Take the resulting amount and multiply by 100.
0.10 x 100 = 10
The result from our example is 10 and can be interpreted as a 10% voluntary turnover rate for the organization.
Tips to Prevent Voluntary Turnover
If your voluntary turnover rate seems high, see if you can narrow down the causes (exit interviews should gather this information) and address them. Besides the issues listed above (job dissatisfaction, lack of career progression, poor compensation, and lack of flexibility), the strongest way to prevent voluntary turnover is by fostering a positive relationship between managers and employees. The following tips will help you support managers in forming positive relationships with their teams.
Tip 1: Connected Managers
Managers who stay in contact with their employees can learn their concerns and quickly address them. Daily communication in the office helps prevent employees from even thinking about finding a new job.
Tip 2: Empathy
It is easy to feel powerless in the face of a problem an employee brings to you. Nevertheless, a few words that shows them you understand and care, or advice on how to begin tackling the problem, is support that increases the odds the employee will want to stay.
Tip 3: Empowered Managers
The importance of the relationship between manager and employee cannot be overstated. Managers are positioned to resolve employee concerns. An HR rep can support them in the decision-making process, but you should not force yourself in the middle.
For example, if an employee needs an accommodated schedule, partner with their manager. The manager will know if the team can maintain the same productivity as when the employee works their normal schedule.
Tip 4: Employee Recognition
Employees will leave if they feel their work doesn’t matter. Their manager is the best mentor to explain how an employee’s contribution helps fulfill the company’s mission.
Tip 5: Remove Toxic Leadership
Does a manager yell at their team or tell others it is their way or the highway? This dictatorship style of leadership will increase voluntary turnover in your organization. There are two options to deal with this behavior.
- Coach the manager. As HR, you can coach the manager on their behavior and how it is driving turnover. If you need additional support, partner with the leader that manager reports to. In most cases, the manager can quickly change their leadership approach and prevent voluntary turnover.
- Move to separation. If the manager refuses to be coached, the toxic manager’s employment should be terminated to maintain company culture and a positive team environment.
Table of Contents
Questions You’ve Asked Us About Voluntary Turnover
Ryan is an HR Director with four years of experience and three masters degrees. One accomplishment he is proud of is the design and launch of a learning and development program for 800+ employees.
Want to contribute to our HR Encyclopedia?
Other Related Terms
Posts You Might Like
People management software sounds important, but what exactly does that mean? Does your business need it? What businesses benefit most? All these questions and more are answered as we dive into the fascinating world of people management software and determine what’s best for your company.
It’s no secret that people are complicated. No two people are alike and everyone has their own unique preferences. These differences can make people management challenging. However, when you learn to R.E.A.D. people, you’ll immediately become a better manager and you’ll earn the trust of your team.
When it comes to running a small business, we know that managing employees is often one of the most difficult tasks. People are complicated, and finding a way to keep your employees happy and productive can be challenging. This article shares specific advice for what you can do in the three phases of the employee lifecycle to get the most out of each employee.