What is the average cost of employee turnover: Why does it matter & how is it calculated?

7 min read
What is the average cost of employee turnover: Why does it matter & how is it calculated?
What is the average cost of employee turnover: Why does it matter & how is it calculated?

In the fast-paced realm of modern business, where innovation and growth are the currency of a company's reputation and success, there's one factor that often remains underestimated and yet holds unparalleled significance – employee engagement.

For organizations striving to reach new heights, understanding the intricacies of the workforce ecosystem is not just a mere necessity; it's a strategic imperative.

Behind every resignation letter lies a story, a narrative that goes beyond the surface. In this blog, tailored specifically for our discerning readers passionate about fostering employee engagement, we embark on a journey to demystify the true costs associated with turnover.

What is employee turnover?

Employee turnover refers to the rate at which employees leave a company and are replaced by new hires. It's a crucial metric for organizations to measure as it directly impacts the stability, productivity, and overall performance of the workforce.

Turnover can occur for various reasons, including voluntary resignations, retirements, terminations, or employees moving to other positions within or outside the organization.

Voluntary turnover, often initiated by employees seeking new opportunities, better work-life balance, or improved job satisfaction, is a key focus for organizations aiming to enhance their employee retention rates.

In contrast, involuntary turnover involves employees leaving due to factors beyond their control, such as layoffs or terminations.

Understanding the reasons behind employee turnover is essential for businesses looking to create a positive work environment and retain top talent.

High turnover rates can be costly and disruptive, leading to increased recruitment expenses, loss of institutional knowledge, decreased employee morale even among remaining employees, and potential disruptions in workflow.

Why should you care about high turnover rates?

Employer holding a huge dollar sign
Why should you care about high turnover rates?

Employee turnover matters as it can wreak havoc on an organization, extending its impact across various facets of business operations. One of the most immediate concerns is the financial toll.

The constant need to replace departing employees incurs significant recruitment costs, from creating job postings to conducting extensive interview processes.

Additionally, the investment in training and onboarding for each new hire becomes a substantial ongoing expense. The cumulative effect of these financial burdens can strain a company's budget and hinder its ability to allocate resources to other strategic initiatives.

Beyond financial implications, high turnover rates can disrupt productivity on a fundamental level. New employees often undergo a learning curve, during which their productivity may be lower than that of their experienced counterparts.

This ongoing cycle of onboarding and adaptation can result in persistent disruptions and decreased overall team efficiency.

Moreover, the loss of institutional knowledge is a critical consideration. Long-term employees contribute valuable experience and expertise that is challenging to replace, impacting decision-making and problem-solving within the organization.

How much does employee turnover really cost?

The true cost of employee turnover extends well beyond the visible financial expenditures. While the immediate expenses of recruitment, onboarding, and training are tangible, the ripple effects can be profound.

Financially, the average cost of turnover is estimated to be between 1.5 times to 2 times an employee's annual salary, accounting for recruitment, hiring costs, lost productivity during onboarding, training costs, and the time it takes for new hires to reach peak performance.

However, the intangible costs are equally significant. The loss of institutional knowledge, the impact on team morale, and the disruption to workflow can't be easily quantified but are deeply felt.

High employee turnover lowers morale rates and often leads to increased stress and workload for remaining employees, potentially resulting in burnout and decreased job satisfaction. This, in turn, affects productivity and overall team dynamics.

How do you calculate the average cost of employee turnover?

Employers are calculating the average cost of employee turnover
How do you calculate the average cost of employee turnover?

Calculating the average cost of employee turnover involves considering both direct and indirect expenses associated with losing and replacing an employee. Here's a simplified formula to help you estimate the average cost:

1. Direct costs

  • Recruitment costs: Include expenses related to job postings, advertising, recruitment software, and agency fees.
  • Selection costs: Cover the time and resources spent on interviewing, testing, and assessing candidates.
  • Onboarding costs: Account for expenses associated with training, orientation, and integrating new hires into the organization.

2. Indirect costs

  • Productivity loss: Factor in the dip in productivity during the time it takes for the new employee to reach full proficiency.
  • Impact on team morale: Consider the potential decline in morale and engagement among the remaining team members.
  • Loss of institutional knowledge: Assess the value of the knowledge and expertise lost with the departing employee.
  • Administrative costs: Include the time and resources spent on administrative tasks related to the departure and arrival of employees.

3. Calculate the total cost

Add up all direct and indirect costs to determine the total cost of turnover.

4. Average cost per employee

Divide the total cost by the number of employees who left during a specific period to get the average cost per employee.

The formula can be represented as:

Average Cost of Turnover = (Total Cost of Turnover / Number of Employees Turned Over)

It's crucial to note that the accuracy of just the cost calculation depends on the comprehensiveness of the data collected. Include all relevant expenses and factor in the unique aspects of your organization's culture and industry.

Regularly reviewing and updating these calculations will provide a more accurate understanding of the true and real cost amount of turnover over time.

How to reduce employee turnover: 7 Top strategies to try in 2024

Here are 7 employee retention strategies for turnover costs in your organization.

  1. Invest in employee development: Encourage continuous learning and skill enhancement of hourly employee through training programs. Employees value opportunities for growth, and investing in their development fosters loyalty and a sense of purpose to improve company culture.
  2. Foster a positive work culture: Cultivate a supportive environment that promotes work-life balance, recognizes achievements, and values the employee's salary and well-being. A positive company culture also enhances job satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of turnover.
  3. Implement competitive compensation: Ensure your compensation packages are competitive within your industry. Regularly review and adjust average salary to reflect market trends, demonstrating that you value and recognize your employees' contributions.
  4. Provide clear career development opportunities and paths: Outline transparent career progression opportunities. When employees see a clear path for advancement within the organization, they are more likely to stay and commit to long-term goals.
  5. Enhance communication channels: Establish open lines of communication between leadership and employees. Regular feedback sessions, town hall meetings, and transparent communication contribute to a sense of belonging and engagement.
  6. Offer flexible work arrangements: Embrace flexible work options, such as remote work or flexible hours. This accommodates diverse lifestyles, boosting employee benefits and job satisfaction, reducing turnover, and promoting a healthy work-life balance.
  7. Conduct exit interviews: Learn from departures by conducting thorough exit interviews. Understanding the reasons behind an employee's decision to leave provides valuable insights for addressing issues and implementing proactive measures to reduce the turnover rate.

What are the challenges in retaining top talent, and how do you overcome them?

Employer feeling confused with the challenges in front
What are the challenges in retaining top talent, and how do you overcome them?

Retaining top talent presents a myriad of challenges in today's dynamic and competitive employment landscape. One significant obstacle is the constant allure of external opportunities.

High-performing individuals are often sought after by other organizations, making it challenging for companies to retain their star employees.

Additionally, the evolving expectations of the modern workforce, including a desire for meaningful work, career growth, and positive work culture, pose ongoing challenges for retention efforts.

Overcoming these challenges requires a strategic and multifaceted approach. Firstly, organizations must prioritize a robust talent management strategy that aligns with individual career goals.

Offering personalized development plans and clearly defined career paths demonstrates a commitment to nurturing and advancing top talent within the same company culture. This proactive approach not only addresses the desire for career growth but also fosters a sense of loyalty.

Moreover, cultivating a positive work culture is paramount. Top talent seeks environments where their contributions are recognized and valued. Regularly acknowledging achievements, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a collaborative atmosphere.

Competitive compensation packages, including perks and benefits that align with industry standards, help address the external allure of attractive job offers.

Communication is key in overcoming retention challenges. Regular check-ins, open dialogue about career aspirations, and soliciting honest feedback can create a supportive environment where employees feel heard and understood.

By staying attuned to the evolving needs and desires of top talent, organizations can strategically position themselves to retain their most valuable assets in an ever-evolving professional landscape.


The challenges in retaining top talent are complex and multifaceted, rooted in the dynamic nature of the modern workforce and the constant pull of external opportunities. However, by adopting a strategic and proactive approach, organizations can navigate these challenges successfully.

Prioritizing personalized talent management and retention strategies, fostering positive work cultures, and offering competitive compensation packages are crucial steps in retaining high-performing individuals.

It's essential to recognize that retaining top talent is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and a keen understanding of individual aspirations.

By embracing transparent communication channels, providing avenues for career growth, and consistently acknowledging and valuing employees' contributions, organizations can create environments that not only attract but also retain top talent.



Santhosh is a Jr. Product Marketer with 2+ years of experience. He loves to travel solo (though he doesn’t label them as vacations, they are) to explore, meet people, and learn new stories.