The Value of Tracking Turnover—And How to Do It Right

Turnover reports. Let’s be honest—they’re kind of boring. But, if you want to be a business that’s responsive to employees and boasts a great company culture, you need to track your turnover.

People in small business often say, “I don’t need to track anything! I know the names of everyone who works here and I can give you a list of everyone who has left, along with their reasons for leaving! Jane left because her husband got a job in Milwaukee. Steve left because a headhunter called him up out of the blue and offered him a raise we couldn’t match. Carol left because she wanted to stay home with her kids.”

It’s easy to think you’ve got it under control, but let me tell you a secret: People lie about why they’re leaving. Jane told her husband to go ahead and take that job in Milwaukee because she hated her manager. Steve was actively looking for a job for two years before he finally landed that one. He would have taken it without the raise. And Carol? Carol actually does want to stay home with her kids, but she intends to do consulting on the side. She would have stayed if you had granted her request for part time.

To keep reading, click here: The Value of Tracking Turnover–And How to Do It Right

Related Posts

7 thoughts on “The Value of Tracking Turnover—And How to Do It Right

  1. While working in China trying to get the truth about anything was often a challenge. Once a senior customer service engineer, Paul, gave notice that he would leave the company. His stated reason was that both he and his wife had to stay at home to take care of their infant son. Yeah, sure, I said to myself. So I asked, “You and your wife will stay at home and take care of your son while neither of you are working and you will have no income?” Paul replied that I understood correctly. A few months later we learned that he was working for a competitor.

    Rather than ask why someone is resigning, I learned to ask what improvements we should make to the company or how it operated. Somewhere in the answer is likely the real reason why someone resigns.

  2. We conduct exit interviews ( in writing) when someone resigns. They have many choices in categories such as salary, manager, etc on what they based their decision to leave. We also give them room for their own comments.
    We usually get constructive criticism on why the person left and they give suggestions on what could have been done in order for them to stay and if they would ever consider coming back. Most of them would.
    We also ask if they have attained employment elsewhere. We do receive an answer and we ask the reason why they have gone to the other company. Usually it is commute, more responsibility, etc.
    I feel this is a helpful way to track what we offer in the marketplace.

    1. Except when there is a serious problem, people might not tell you the truth. I declined the exit interview at my last job. Everyone pretty much knew what a jerk the CEO was but nobody would do anything. What did I have to gain about saying something negative?

      I would have left for the same money just to get out of that toxic environment. I told them I was leaving for more money, which I was, but it was only a few thousand dollars. I left because of the CEO.

    2. The thing is that what Suzanne says about people not telling the whole truth (or any of it, sometimes) is important here. They may tell you that the way the snack machine is stocked really should be changed, but that doesn’t mean they will tell you that the new scheduling system that’s your pride and joy is soul crushing and destroying morale.

  3. Good Article Suzanne! And I agree that people lie about leaving.

    Why should I, as an employee who is leaving, give you ANY response? What is in it for me? You, as an employer have already lost me and I have nothing to gain by telling you that your company, my boss, the pay, the hours, or whatever, has “squid lips.”

    Even if I tell you in a professional manner I still might have something to lose – a decent reference.

    No matter what the departing employee says – and no matter how spot on truthful it is – there is still the fear that the manager, the HR compensation director, the owner, will still consider that employee to be ungrateful. I, and I think most employees, do not want to risk that.

    So, yea, do a survey; but, be aware that the answers might not always be forthright. You will have to read between the lines sometimes.

    1. You’re exactly right. When I left my first job, I couldn’t get out of there faster. My exit interview was complete fiction. I had no confidence that they’d even address, let alone fix, any of the problems, so I stuck with “it’s been so nice working here, but it’s time to move forward into new responsibilities”, repeat as necessary.

      I had no idea why they were so interested in talking to me when I was already out the door, so to speak, when many employees had voiced their concerns over the years.

  4. In my career I’ve left several jobs and never did an exit interview. I’ve witnessed several processes for ending the employee/employer relationship and I found only one to be routinely successful and fulfilling for both parties. When an employee announces their resignation, they are given an hour to empty their office and escorted to the door, provided two weeks of pay and benefits covered for the period and a written copy of the recommendation from their supervisor. I’ve never once seen an employee who provided notice being a productive member of the team. They air all their grievances, they do little work with the excuse of “what are they going to do? Fire me? I already quit!”. Clean and simple, honorable and direct. Allow them to make the decision, then excise them quickly. Particularly with trust positions such as IT or financial, the downside risk just isn’t worth it.

Comments are closed.

Are you looking for a new HR job? Or are you trying to hire a new HR person? Either way, hop on over to Evil HR Jobs, and you'll find what you're looking for.