Is High Turnover Normal?

Is High Turnover Normal?

  • 32% of workers plan to change jobs within the next two years.
  • Employee turnover costs US companies $160 billion a year.
  • While 96% of managers believe reskilling is important, most believe that individuals should be responsible for their own development.

A steady increase in turnover year over year can leave you asking yourself what went wrong? Is this just a sign of the times? Are all millennials impatient, unfocused, and on the hunt for the “next best thing”? Or, is high turnover just a symptom of the real problem? Could your top talent be leaving because your leaders aren’t giving them what they need?

Instead of asking “is high turnover normal?”, we suggest “how can I take a more proactive approach in retaining top talent?” While turnover itself is inevitable (and not to be avoided altogether), there are tried-and-true steps you can take to manage your turnover rates to retain and develop top talent longer. Try these three tactics to get ahead of high turnover rates.

  • 1. Rethink your definition of “work”

What can you do to support more flexibility for your employees, while ensuring the work gets done? Job seekers today are looking for flexibility in when, where, and how they work. With remote and freelance workers quickly becoming the norm, T&D professionals need to ensure all workers remain engaged in the organization and their teams.

TRY THIS: Build a shared vision of success

Leverage tools that enable a greater understanding of the factors impacting team dynamics like personality, emotional intelligence and change styles. By making time for teambuilding through group assessments, debriefs, and activities, you can encourage collaboration and build a shared vision for success among fully remote, traditional, or mixed teams. It’s also a great way to improve your team’s communication around conflict and disruption by teaching them to speak the same language.

  • 2. Upskill your current workforce

Change and growth can be exciting for an organization, but when an employee doesn’t see their skillset aligning with the direction of the organization, excitement can quickly turn to fear. It’s no secret that employees want to feel valued and like their development matters, but to a growing organization, this can seem like a daunting task.

TRY THIS: Create a culture of learning

Don’t just provide training for those who you perceive as “in need” of upskilling; include everyone in programs aimed at improving critical skills like interpersonal communication, problem-solving, and resilience. Beyond assessments, take the leap and try simulations; they create a “safe-to-fail” environment where participants tackle real-world challenges, gain perspective, and build strategies for development. Regular opportunities for development help employees clearly envision their career progression within your organization, while also feeling valued, engaged, and invested in (which means they will invest in you too).

  • 3. Feedback, feedback, feedback

Hard costs aside, turnover can have even greater impacts on morale, productivity, and engagement, which can, in turn, lead to the cyclical recurrence of turnover. Most organizations conduct exit interviews, where they gain valuable insight into why someone chose to leave the organization. What if you could instead find out how to keep your top talent while there was still time? Instead of asking your employees, “why are you leaving?”, start asking “what will make you stay?”

TRY THIS: Conduct “stay” interviews

Stay interviews are designed to solicit regular feedback from employees to see if they are still engaged, and if not, where the gaps are. Instead of simply scheduling a stay interview try weaving your questions into regular feedback sessions using the right tools. 360-degree feedback surveys give your employees a clearer picture of how they perceive themselves as well as how their peers, leaders, and direct reports perceive them to better identify gaps or patterns they may not be aware of. This can give you a better understanding of their needs, what they’re missing, and a chance for more development opportunities (see opportunity #2).

So, before you ask yourself the question, “is high turnover normal?”, consider these proactive opportunities your organization and its leaders may be overlooking. Reactivity in times of change and disruption can be felt from the top down, and when leaders fail to communicate, engage, and inspire their teams early, they miss key opportunities to retain their top talent. Whether you choose assessments, training programs, simulations, or other learning methods, providing your employees with development is one sure way to not only retain your talent but make you a more desirable and attractive employer.

To learn more about training and development programs and tools for your organization email [email protected]


1. Note. From “REPORT: How Satisfied Are U.S. Workers with Their Salaries?” by Indeed, 2018.

2. Note. From “Employee Turnover Is the Highest It’s Been in 10 Years. Here’s What to Do About It,” by Jeff Boss, 2018, Forbes

3. Note. From “2019 Future Workforce Report,” by UpWork, 2019.



Visit to learn more about how to further develop and manage talent in the workplace. Our range of Talent assessment tools are ideal for use in coaching, organization and leadership development, selection, and succession planning. Please contact us at [email protected] for any inquiries

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