The Bright Side of High Employee Turnover

benefits of employee turnover

Are you worried about losing key employees this year?

A Right Management study says 83 percent of employees definitely plan to look for jobs this year, while 12 percent say they might and just 5 percent have no plans to look for new jobs.

This is bad news for your business, right?

Maybe not. Instead of getting in a lather trying to figure out how retain your current employees, look at the silver lining. This could be your chance to unload some deadwood…and attract new blood to your business.

How to Benefit From Employee Turnover

1. Start Searching for New Employees

Of course you can post a want ad, but since many dissatisfied employees are searching on the sly, you’ll likely have better luck with more stealth methods.

Take full advantage of your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to find out more about people in your industry who are go-getters, up-and-comers…in short, your dream employees. Make connections and get to know a little about them.

Remember, even the 12 percent of employees who say they “might” seek new jobs can be swayed with the right offer—so you’ll never know until you make that offer.

2. Hold Your Team to Higher Standards

Do you have slackers on your staff or employees who are coasting or not living up to their potential? Now’s the time to put their feet to the fire.

Consider holding more frequent performance reviews—not just annually, but quarterly. There’s ample evidence employees like getting frequent feedback, but providing reviews more often also benefits you. Instead of waiting a whole year to discuss nagging problems with a person’s performance, frequent reviews will spur you to get the issues out in the open so they can be dealt with.

You can set shorter time frames for improvement and move faster to let the person go if necessary.

3. Watch Your Team Fire Up

A little uncertainty isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Think about how you react when a key client has a shakeup or shows signs they’re considering letting you go. You do everything you can to keep them, don’t you? The same principle works for your staff.

When employees see that you are holding reviews more often, paying closer attention to performance, calling some employees on the carpet and perhaps even letting some go, even the good team members will start getting a bit nervous about job security.

However, that anxiety can be motivating as employees seek to earn your approval (and keep their jobs). Your top performers will get energized to do even better, while those poorer performers who don’t want to make the effort to improve will start job hunting. (If you’re lucky, you won’t even have to fire them because they’ll leave of their own accord.)

4. Reward Top Performers – But Know That Everyone Can Be Replaced

Don’t let your best employees dither too much about their job security. Your reviews should recognize them for going above and beyond. At the same time, know that they, too, may be searching for other opportunities.

Don’t bend over backwards to keep a key employee on board if he or she really wants to leave. I’ve learned many times as a manager that no matter how indispensable you think someone is, everyone can be replaced—and sometimes, a dose of new blood is just what you need to reinvigorate your business.


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

5 Reactions
  1. I think it should also offer important feedback on what you’re NOT doing to retain talent. If you see trends around why people are leaving it could tell you how to change and make your workplace better for top performers.

  2. The tips here hits the spot. While employee retention is generally important, you should still strive to whip your employees in shape. In fact, some of the top performers like it when you’re strict. It is just a matter of giving them what they want in return for working for you.

  3. I definitely agree with #4. As much as an employer wants to keep their best employees, they have to consider what the employee needs or wants. I was in a project before wherein our manager refuses to accept when one of us employees try to request for a roll off from the project to try other opportunities with different projects. The end result? Our team members left the company in a rush. We had problems then of lacking of resources because there were 3 or 4 resource left almost at the same time.

  4. Good point Eds. Thanks for sharing