A central theme in strategic HR is employee engagement. We measure employees' ownership of and engagement with the organization. We conduct frequent pulse surveys and gain fresh insights that we use for development.
A related and important metric is turnover, the flow of people. Turnover is closely linked to engagement. Ideally, turnover should be moderate, and engagement should be high.
If the organization has high engagement combined with a high turnover rate, it's necessary to scrutinize the engagement measurement. Something doesn't add up.
In the competitive job market where I and we operate and recruit, the most crucial thing is to develop and retain employees. Losing colleagues costs time, effort, and a lot of money.
But that's not the worst part. The most distressing thing about turnover is that it spreads. It weakens loyalty. It destroys the most precious thing we have. The one thing that cannot be bought. It's a nightmare.
Maybe the grass is greener over there?
Should I leave when she leaves?
Can they, can I.
As the HR leader in a growing knowledge-based company, the fear of increased turnover lingers in the back of my mind. Towards the end of the month, it moves to the forefront.
There are those who seem to have a relaxed attitude towards this phenomenon. Easy come, easy go. New people are going to come. They are probably just as good. The sea is full of fish, and the graveyard is full of irreplaceable people.
Maybe. I'm not there.
Signs of rising turnover make me uneasy. I keep a close eye on the situation. I become more vigilant at the end of the month. I interpret signals, read between the lines. Most of the time, I breathe a sigh of relief. No one this month either. Thank you.
It's said that the only thing worse than high turnover is no turnover. It's hard to disagree. A bit of turnover is good. It's healthy for individuals and the organization, even if it can sting.
The appropriate level of turnover will vary in each organization. For us, I operate with the following:
🟢 < 5%? All's well.
🟡 > 5%? Something's cooking. Find out what.
🔴 > 10% Polish the mirror. Something needs to happen. Maybe some need to leave before more go.
For a brief period last year, we entered the yellow zone. I didn't like that. I had to take a closer look. I received valuable feedback in offboarding discussions and learned a lot. Currently, we are working to close the gaps. It's not as bad as it seemed.
Today, we onboard 26 new colleagues. We will work hard to retain them as well. And we take comfort in the fact that two of the lost from last year have returned. Someone is going to come back. Nothing warms an HR heart more.
And the goal for the year? To cruise in the green zone.
There will be farewells to good people. That's how the working world goes.
But, hope is famously green.