The real Cost of Turnover: Understanding its Impact on Your Business

In any business, employee turnover is an inevitable part of the operation. It refers to the number or percentage of workers who leave an organization and are replaced by new employees. However, the cost and impact of this turnover extend far beyond simply hiring a new individual. In this article, we delve into the true turnover costs, examining its direct and indirect impacts, and how you can mitigate these costs in your business.

Understanding Employee Turnover

A. What is Employee Turnover?

Employee turnover refers to the departure of an employee from a company, voluntarily or involuntarily, and the process of replacing that employee with a new hire.

Employee turnover rate is calculated using a simple formula. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, you need to determine the period for which you want to calculate turnover. It could be a month, a quarter, or a year.

  2. Next, find the average number of employees during that period. This can be calculated by adding the number of employees at the start of the period and the number of employees at the end of the period, then dividing by two.

For example, if you had 100 employees at the start of the year and 90 at the end, the average number of employees is (100+90)/2 = 95.

  1. Count the number of employees who left the company during that period. Let’s say 15 employees left.

  2. Now, use the following formula to calculate the turnover rate:

Turnover Rate = (Number of employees who left / Average number of employees) * 100

So, for our example, the annual turnover rate would be (15/95)*100 = 15.79%.

This rate shows the percentage of your workforce that leaves and has to be replaced within a given period. A high turnover rate can indicate issues with employee satisfaction and retention, while a low rate might suggest that your employees are happy and stay with your company for a longer period.

B. Types of Turnover

There are two main types of turnover:

Voluntary turnover: When an employee leaves a company by choice.

Involuntary turnover: When the company decides to let an employee go.

C. Reasons for Leaving

Employees may choose to leave for various reasons, including:

  • Better opportunities elsewhere
  • Personal reasons or life changes
  • Dissatisfaction with the job or the corporate culture


The Direct Costs of Turnover

A. Recruitment Expenses

The recruitment process can be expensive, involving:

  • Advertising the position
  • Screening and interviewing candidates
  • Hiring process administrative costs

B. Training and Development

Onboarding a new employee incurs costs such as:

  • Orientation and training programs
  • Time spent by existing employees to train new ones

C. Severance and Administrative Costs

When an employee leaves, there can be additional costs like:

  • Severance packages, if applicable
  • Costs of offboarding processes and paperwork


The Indirect Costs of Turnover

A. Loss of Productivity

New hires typically take time to reach the productivity level of an experienced employee.

The morale of other employees can be affected, leading to decreased productivity.

B. Impact on Corporate Culture and Morale

Employee turnover can disrupt team dynamics and workflows.

High turnover rates may lead to lowered motivation and engagement among remaining staff.

C. Loss of Institutional Knowledge

Experienced employees carry important skills and knowledge, which are lost when they leave.

Relationships with customers and clients, formed over time, can be disrupted.


Measuring the Financial Impact of Turnover

Calculating the exact cost of turnover can be complex, as it includes both tangible and intangible factors. However, considering both direct and indirect costs can give you a realistic estimate.


Strategies for Reducing Turnover

A. Employee Engagement Strategies

  • Career development and training: Employees are more likely to stay when they see growth opportunities.
  • Employee Recognition and rewards: Regularly recognizing and rewarding good performance boosts morale and employee retention.
  • Offer flexible work conditions.

B. Better Hiring Practices

  • Improve your screening process to find candidates that fit well with your corporate culture.
  • Set clear expectations about the job from the beginning to avoid potential dissatisfaction.

C. Improving Company Culture

  • Promote a positive, inclusive, and supportive work environment.
  • Focus on employee well-being initiatives, such as work-life balance, to increase job satisfaction.



The true cost of turnover extends beyond the immediate expenses of recruiting and training new hires. It also impacts productivity, corporate culture, and morale. Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses to understand these costs and implement employee retention strategies to minimize turnover. By focusing on employee engagement, refining hiring practices, and nurturing a positive corporate culture, you can foster a more stable and productive work environment.