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Employee engagement · 

4 minutes

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

A Guide to Understanding and Reducing Labour Turnover

Understanding and controlling labour turnover is crucial for the growth and sustainability of an organization. High employee turnover not only affects team morale and productivity but also imposes a significant financial burden on businesses due to the cost of recruitment, onboarding, and training of new hires. Therefore, understanding what labour turnover is, how to calculate it, and the strategies to reduce it can provide an organization with a competitive edge.

What is Labour Turnover?

Labour turnover refers to the rate at which employees leave an organization over a specified period of time. This rate is often expressed as a percentage and is used by HR departments to measure employee retention and the effectiveness of employee engagement strategies. High turnover can indicate underlying issues in the company culture, while low turnover often signals employee satisfaction.

Calculating Labour Turnover: The Formula

Calculating labour turnover is quite straightforward. The most common formula used is dividing the number of employees who left during a certain period by the average number of employees during that period, then multiplying the result by 100 to get a percentage. Here's how it looks:

Labour Turnover Rate = (Number of leavers during period / Average number of employees during period) * 100

By comparing this employee turnover rate calculation against industry averages, companies can gauge how well they're doing in terms of employee retention.

Involuntary VS Voluntary Turnover

Labour turnover can be classified into two broad categories: involuntary and voluntary. Involuntary turnover occurs when the organization decides to terminate the employment contract. This could be due to reasons such as layoffs, dismissals for misconduct, or poor performance.

Voluntary turnover, on the other hand, occurs when the employee decides to leave the organization. This could be due to reasons such as better job opportunities, retirement, or personal reasons.

Avoidable VS Unavoidable Turnover

Turnover is also classified as avoidable or unavoidable. Avoidable turnover is when an employee leaves for reasons that could potentially have been addressed by the employer. This could include factors such as lack of career development, poor management, or inadequate compensation.

Unavoidable turnover is when an employee leaves for reasons beyond the control of the employer. This could include circumstances like relocation, retirement, or health-related issues.

What Causes Labour Turnover?

1. Lack of Career Growth and Development Opportunities

Employees, especially the younger generation, value career progression. If they perceive that they're in a dead-end job with no opportunities for growth or development, they're more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. Studies indicate that lack of career advancement is one of the top reasons employees leave their jobs.

2. Poor Management

Poor management is a significant cause of high turnover. When employees feel undervalued, unfairly treated, or mismanaged, they're likely to seek employment elsewhere. A Gallup poll revealed that at one point or another, 75% of the reasons employees quit could be influenced by their managers.

3. Inadequate Compensation

While money isn't the only factor that influences job satisfaction, it's undoubtedly important. If employees feel that they aren't adequately compensated for their work, especially if they can earn more elsewhere, they might opt to leave.

4. Lack of Work-Life Balance

Employers who fail to promote a healthy work-life balance often face high turnover rates. Employees who are overworked, stressed, and lack time for personal activities may experience burnout, leading to their resignation. Work-life balance is an increasingly important factor for job seekers when choosing an employer.

5. Poor Company Culture

Company culture significantly impacts employee satisfaction. An unhealthy company culture that doesn't promote respect, diversity, or teamwork can cause high labour turnover. Employees want to feel valued and part of a community, and a negative culture can push them away.

5 Strategies to Reduce Labour Turnover

1. Develop a Strong Employer Brand

A strong employer brand can not only attract high-quality candidates but also retain them. Promote a company culture that aligns with your brand values and rewards fairness, collaboration, and respect. Showcase your brand on various platforms to demonstrate your commitment to employee welfare.

2. Offer Competitive Compensation Packages

Ensure your compensation packages are competitive within your industry and geographic location. Remember, compensation doesn't just mean salary; it includes bonuses, benefits, and non-monetary perks. Regularly review and update your compensation strategies.

3. Foster a Positive Company Culture

Promote a positive company culture that values every team member's contributions. Encourage open communication, recognize employees' efforts, and foster a supportive and collaborative environment.

4. Provide Growth Opportunities

Offer opportunities for career development and learning. This could include on-the-job training, professional development programs, or mentorship opportunities. Employees are more likely to stay when they can see a clear career path in the company.

5. Encourage Work-Life Balance

Promote work-life balance by offering flexible working hours, remote work options, and sufficient vacation time. Consider implementing employee wellness programs to help employees manage stress and avoid burnout.


Labour turnover is a critical metric that can significantly impact an organization's bottom line and overall success. By understanding its causes and employing strategies to manage it, organizations can enhance their employee retention, increase morale, and improve overall productivity. A proactive approach to reducing labour turnover will undoubtedly pay dividends in the long run.

High employee turnover rates can indicate problems within a company or industry, such as poor working conditions, lack of advancement opportunities, or insufficient compensation. Conversely, a very low turnover might suggest a lack of dynamism or mobility, which could also be problematic.

Regardless of the terminology used, monitoring turnover and understanding its underlying causes is crucial for businesses. By addressing the factors that lead to high turnover, companies can work towards creating a more stable, engaged, and productive workforce.

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