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Reducing Employee Turnover


We operate a retail chain that is having turnover problems. How can I conduct an in-depth analysis of high fluctuation rates in one of our stores?


If you have not been using exit interviews for departing employees, you should start doing so immediately. Exit interviews will help you uncover the extent of your problem. Exit interviews can be conducted in person on an employee’s last day or can be sent via email or letter within a couple of days after an employee departs. The exit interview isn’t a forum allowing the former employee to “gripe” about the store; instead you should ask for suggestions for improving the store as a place to work as well as ask why the employee decided to leave.

If you are currently conducting exit interviews, that’s the first place to start with an analysis. Looking at the data is there a pattern across former employees’ comments that indicate “low pay”, “poor benefits”, or “no feedback from supervisor”? These patterns can help guide your actions on appropriate interventions.

If your data shows signs of management issues, you could conduct focus groups or distribute employee opinion surveys to existing employees to get a feel for the current environment and to pinpoint specific issues. Excellent resources for employee opinion surveys can be obtained online from The Society for Human Resource Management ( If conducting focus groups or surveys of current employees be sure to ask for positive recommendations on the types of training and education that would benefit management staff. Your training and/or coaching dollars could then be spent in the areas where there would be the most payback for the organization.

Conducting an in-depth analysis takes time and money. Your leadership team may be uneasy about spending on a project like this as this time. But if you can demonstrate the high cost of turnover for those employees who have already left and the money saving value of implementing retention practices you could likely change their minds.

Well thought out retention strategies are key to keeping employment costs low in a down economy. By avoiding costly turnover companies can more easily weather an economic downturn. Employee Relations is all about how employers interact with employees to help them remain an engaged and productive employee that is content to continue employment with the company for many years. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can assist you with Employee Relations issues such as retention.