Staff turnover is a standard measure of the rate of exits compared to the number that fills up the same position in the organisation.

By calculation, it’s the percentage of staff exits against the initial employee numbers at the start of the period under review. For instance, a company that had 200 staff in January and 10 opt to exit by December the turnover ratio is five per cent.

The lower the percentage the better for the company since exits and entries have associated costs, recruitment expenses, terminal benefits, and cost of litigations in case of hostile separation, among others.

Employees spend most of the day at their workplace. The standard working hours being eight implies that one spends 30 per cent of the day or 60 per cent of their active hours between 6am and 6pm at work.

How you spend your day translates into your living years. Every employer should, therefore, ensure that the work environment is conducive because employees are the drivers of the organisation. Here are some of the reasons for high turnover:

The current crop of employees are sensitive to pay and any reasonable counter offer presented way above their salary has a tendency to sway staff loyalty.

This is evident in the local media industry in which we witness high staff turnover due to better terms rivals offer such as higher pay, paid time off and stock options, education assistance, among others.

The market is changing. For employers, the salary structure for yesteryears may not be relevant today. Human resource or talent sourcing departments should research regularly on new trends in the market and act accordingly.

Even though companies do consider salary or money as a satisfactory measure of effort, they should aim to offer a fair salary for effort expended based on the ability of the company to sustain the wage bill.

2. Leadership/ Supervision

Supervision is the act of directing employees to achieve desired results or simply working through other people. How an organisation achieves this is very critical. Humans are creatures of habit, routine and consistency.

The employee desires a level of predictability. Therefore, a manager should ensure the strategies adopted have a human face. Many employees opt for lower paying jobs to escape an arrogant and punitive supervisory system.

Supervisors should be well-trained and understand their duties.


Employees tend to honour and respect expertise coupled with experience. A supervisor who meets these criteria may find his or her work fun due to the high level of team cooperation.

3. A lack of participation

There is a paradigm shift in operations where every idea is regarded as equally special and weighed against the scale of reason and practicability before being discarded.

Even that tea girl we always look down upon has something to offer.

Most firms now have ‘ideas book’ at the reception for all staff to write what they consider, if implemented, could be a game changer in a company.

All staff now want to participate in company decision-making process, not just routine and structural operations. Let us create room for this as part of staff retention.

Employees who rise up the corporate ladder may find it prudent to exit and create room for promoting the junior staff.

Depending on company size and structure, the staff may hold on since they can see growth opportunities as those at the top exit. This results in new ideas or fresh blood as well as succession planning.

In summary, the talent search department should be sensitive to the market and ensure the remuneration structure is commensurate with employee skills to foster staff retention.

A firm that experiences a high turnover should conduct a survey for root cause analysis. How the company handles its staff determines how long they stay in the company.

Employers should also conduct management performance appraisal to eliminate cases of punitive supervision.

All employees are important and their ideas count. Involve all of them in the day-to-day decision-making process as suggested earlier.

Put in place a succession plan to create a pool of experienced and capable employees to take up the positions left vacant on staff exits.

TOM SHAMIAH, Managing partner, Periperi Recruitment Services.

This article was first published in the Business Daily.