Blog

The Cost of Employee Turnover for a Small Business

by David SwiftApril 8, 2021 8:00 AM

As a small business owner, it’s essential to understand how different events affect your bottom line. Sometimes this process is as easy as checking an invoice, but other cases are not quite as clear. This is exactly the issue when it comes to employee separation costs.

Losing an employee costs you more than just a member of your business. The departure of an employee can cost your business in a variety of ways. Let’s break down the reasons for employee separation, the true costs of employee turnover, and what you can do to prevent talented people from leaving your business.

A small business owner walking past empty chairs and dealing with the costs of employee turnover.

The Costs Associated with Employee Turnover

When an employee leaves your company, it has a number of direct and indirect financial impacts on your business. Unfortunately, you won’t receive an itemized bill that helps you understand the cost and implications of turnover. Instead, you’ll need to recognize the different factors that will impact your business’ bottom line.

Exact employee turnover costs vary depending on the employee and the nature of your company. However, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that it costs an average of half to three-quarters of an employee’s salary to replace that individual. For an employee who makes $50,000 a year, it could cost your business roughly $25,000 to $37,500 to find, hire, and train that person’s replacement.

Those estimates can balloon even higher depending on the position. It can cost more than an entire year’s salary to replace technical or supervisor positions. Meanwhile, turnover for hourly employees can quickly add up as well, with an average turnover cost of $1,500 to replace each person.

Of course, estimates are only one part of the employee turnover puzzle. It’s also important to understand exactly why those costs are as high as they are. Here are some of the factors that go into calculating the cost of employee turnover:

  • Recruiting and hiring costs
  • Onboarding expenses
  • Lost productivity
  • Reduced employee engagement
  • Increased risk of errors

Recruiting and hiring costs

Any time you must hire a new employee, it’s going to take some time and money to do so. To start, you’ll need advertise your open positions. Some jobs may even call for a recruiter to help you find the right person to fill the position. 

Recruiting costs don’t stop with that initial search, either. Once you find some qualified candidates, your managers and supervisors will have to take time away from their jobs to interview and vet them. This is especially true for any job searches that last for months. As you may know, time is money, so any extra time spent will add to employee turnover costs.

There are also a number of other expenses that can add up once you find the right fit for the role. For example, you could have additional fees for background checks, drug screenings, and other pre-employment assessments. These measures are important to ensure that your hire is the right person, but they do add to your overall hiring expenses.  

Onboarding expenses

Hiring an employee is just the first step – you will also need to spend time with onboarding and training. This process will incur a number of additional expenses to get your latest team member up to speed. 

The exact onboarding costs can depend on your business, but employee training is a pretty common expense. The average company spends 31.5 hours training a new hire, which adds up to an average of $1,888 in training and development costs for businesses with fewer than 500 employees. You’ll also need to factor in how much it’ll take to provide that new employee with the tools to do their job, whether that means a computer, certain supplies, or other needs.

Lost productivity

The goal of hiring someone is to boost productivity and improve your business operations, but it will take some time to get them up to speed. The person will need to learn the processes that are unique to your business, as well as any new systems they will be required to use. 

Someone will also need to help them get started and be available to answer their questions along the way. This will result in lost productivity for the rest of the team as well since they’ll need to take time away from their jobs to assist them. 

Reduced employee engagement

Anytime someone leaves your company, there can be ramifications for the employees left behind. Other individuals may start to question why that person left and what their future might look like at your firm. Depending on their outlook, they may start looking for another opportunity as well.

A departing employee can impact your remaining workforce in other ways as well. You may see reduced engagement from any employees who end up having to cover for a temporarily vacant role. This process will not only force them to spread themselves thin, it can also leave them feeling burnt out from the extra hours and impromptu responsibilities. As a result, that transition period could spur further turnover down the road. 

Increased risk of errors 

When you lose an employee, you also lose important knowledge and experience.  Following, turnover can easily result in reporting errors or other costly mistakes. Even if you spend extra time to help ensure these errors don’t occur, that simply means you or someone else is spending extra time to address something that your departing employee handled regularly.

How to Prevent Your Talented Employees from Leaving

The best way to reduce the cost of employee turnover is to keep your talented employees from leaving in the first place. It’s important to assess the different reasons why high voluntary turnover occurs. 

There are a variety of reasons why people leave a company. By identifying contributing factors for employee turnover, you can take appropriate measures to reduce avoidable turnover costs. Let’s evaluate a few ways that you can retain top talent, avoid wrong fits, and reduce your employee turnover costs.

Offer a competitive benefits package

Losing employees is an expensive process. Offering competitive pay and benefits can help limit the chances that employees try and leave for a small raise or certain work perks.

It’s important to consider what perks employees truly find valuable in order to attract and retain top talent. It’s not uncommon for employees to value key benefits more highly than their pay, which makes an appealing benefits package a powerful retention tool. Some of the top benefits included:

  • Better health, dental, and vision insurance
  • More flexible hours
  • More vacation time
  • Work-from-home options
  • Paid parental leave

Improve company culture

Your company’s culture has a significant impact on employee satisfaction and can determine whether they stay or go. Creating a culture that fosters a positive work environment, encourages work-life balance, and recognizes employees will help you attract and retain top talent. 

According to research conducted by LinkedIn, 47 percent of employees want to work for a company with a welcoming culture, while 51 percent of professionals seek employment at businesses that promote work-life balance and flexibility. Fortunately, benefits such as work-from-home options and flexible hours offer the dual perk of making your business more attractive and helping employees avoid burnout and other issues. That level of support can make your workplace a space where employees don’t want to leave.

Recognize employees

Establishing procedures to recognize employees is also essential to boost engagement and retention. Over 70 percent of companies report that employee recognition had the highest impact on engagement. As such, it’s important to make sure that employees know they’re appreciated.

Consider implementing a formal recognition program that incorporates ideas like employee spotlights and peer recognition. Recognizing the individuals that work hard to contribute to the success of your business will improve morale and create additional incentives to perform well.

Monetary prizes aren’t the only options either. Get creative with other ways to reward your employees, like an extra day off or an experience that they can enjoy. Even short conversations expressing your appreciation for an employee’s work can go a long way toward making them feel good about where they work. 

Provide potential for growth

One reason why employees leave is because they don’t think there’s a future with their current company. Giving employees the tools they need for career development can help them feel like they can continue to grow at your business.

Growth can come in many forms – opportunities to advance in the company, stipends for development, etc. Regardless of the form the prospects take, nearly 95 percent of employees would stay with a company longer if they had access to learning opportunities. These efforts can play a key role in limiting employee turnover, so work with your employees to create employee development plans, provide training, and put measures in place to invest in your team.

Welcome employee feedback

One of the best ways to understand why people leave your company is to ask for feedback. If you've noticed that employee turnover has increased or want to address any issues before someone leaves, talk to your employees about what they value and encourage feedback regarding what you could do better.

Collecting feedback is not enough though – you need to listen to them and implement their ideas to make them feel valued at your company. Making changes based on thoughtful, serious feedback shows your current workforce that you’re listening. That step along can make a major difference in morale and show your employees that they’re heard.

When someone does choose to leave, conduct an exit interview to determine why. Use this interview as an opportunity to learn from your mistakes – they will be more likely to share candidly at this point since they are on their way out anyway. This feedback can help you narrow down potential weakness, strengths, and opportunities to improve your company and reduce employee turnover.

Cut Out Turnover Costs With Employee Retention Strategies

Losing a talented employee costs your business in a variety of ways. Fortunately, GMS can help you attract and retain top talent and keep your business strong. 

Our experts can manage key functions like employee training and recruiting and benefits administration to help you find the right employees and keep them on your team. Meanwhile, you can spend that time to focus on growing the business instead of constantly dealing with the hiring process. Contact GMS today about how we can support you and your employees.

Tags: ,

Human Resources

Back to Top
Contact Us