How to Make Your Employee Turnover a Good Thing

How to Avoid Letting the Wrong People Go

Many leaders stumble when someone on their team decides to quit. They either hesitate and their top talent gets away, or they throw money at the problem and end up retaining the wrong employees. Both can have a devastating impact on the future of the team and organization.

Instead, answer these three questions to know exactly your best move.

1. Are they high potential?

It’s essential to create an available pool of experienced and capable employees ready to assume roles as they become available (also known as succession planning). Of course, you can hire externally, but research shows that can cost 18-20% more than developing your internal talent.

When you have a high potential employee threatening to quit, consider the cost of the additional salary and time to attract an external candidate. Then consider what you can do to retain them.

2. Does this create a significant disruption?

Will an employee’s departure negatively impact sales, jeopardize a major project, or negatively impact the bottom-line? There are certain costly business disruptions that are worth avoiding by aggressively retaining an employee.

This can happen when a sales leader quits, and they eventually poach other key sales members from the team and clients as well.

3. Do they have a skill that is hard to replace?

There are some situations where an employee has a skill that is difficult to replace. This applies to professions like scientists and designers who drive technology innovation, as well as employees who effectively represent a well-known brand.

Many organizations lock these employees in with contractual terms like non-compete clauses and financial incentives. Regardless, it’s important that you identify these employees early and have a retention plan developed in advance.

A high-profile example of this a successful college football coach like University of Alabama Head Coach, Nick Saban. If he stays through the 2021 football season, he receives a massive bonus payout of $3.6M. That’s incentive to stay!

Now consider the employees on your team. Who gets a ‘Yes’ to at least of one of the three questions above? Proactively create a retention strategy for them today and avoid the costs of turnover.


P.S: Download my free report, 7 Strategies for Senior Leaders To Get the Most Out of Their Workforce

A modified version of this article originally appeared in Ben Fanning’s Inc Magazine column