If you suspect turnover is an issue on your operation, veterinary clinic or business, take steps to address it. Measure your turnover rate and costs, recognize the possible causes of turnover and address what’s hurting your bottom line.

Step 1: Determine whether you have a turnover problem.

Establish whether turnover is a problem that is costing you. Depending on the company, the American Management Association estimates turnover could cost anywhere from 25% to 200% of each person’s annual salary. Ask yourself, “What is acceptable turnover in the organization? What is one turnover event costing the company?” Then you can easily understand how the cost of turnover — everything from interviewing costs, onboarding, overtime and training time of other employees, plus loss in productivity — is hurting your organization.

Step 2: Recognize why employees are leaving.

There could be many reasons employees are leaving. How long they stay could indicate whether, at some point, they are becoming detached or disengaged. Opportunities for employee engagement start as soon as you’re integrating them into the company, and they continue through interactions with direct supervisors. It’s also important to know why employees stay. Many owners and managers might be surprised to learn that pay typically is not what keeps employees happy and makes them stay.

Step 3: Address how to prevent turnover.

Knowing when and why turnover happens should help you address common causes. To ensure your employees stay long-term, you’ll also need to:

  • Develop relationships. The relationship employees have with their immediate supervisor is one of the top influencers of workplace engagement.1 Employee engagement reflects a sense of commitment to the operation. A highly engaged workforce means less stress on management and ownership because goals will be met without a constant need to motivate. Also, companies with higher employee engagement have a 19% higher operating income than those without engagement.2
  • Create open lines of communication. Outline clear employee and organizational goals from the beginning. Employees want to know their role, where they are heading and how to get there. Employees should have specific goals that tie into the company’s mission. Each employee should be held accountable by management and have a part in the operation’s success. Through realistic goals, employees can be a part of the organization’s success and feel ownership in that success. Check goals on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Improve company culture. A positive work environment is a helpful, cost-effective way to maintain a happy, productive workforce. Awards, recognition and praise can go a long way. Regardless of whether the organization is reaching all of its goals, good work needs to be acknowledged. When employees reach their goals, celebrate those successes. If they don’t, go back, communicate and hold employees accountable again until they reach them. 

Once you have a strategy to help reduce turnover, you’ll know how to move forward to reach your long-term goals. Visit GrowPeopleFirst.com for more ways to develop your leadership, employees and business or operation.


1 Corporate Leadership Council. Driving performance and retention through employee engagement. Available at: http://www.mckpeople.com.au/SiteMedia/w3svc161/Uploads/Documents/760af459-93b3-43c7-b52a-2a74e984c1a0.pdf. Accessed December 1, 2013.

2 Towers Perrin. 2007-2008 Global Workforce Study. Available at: http://www.towersperrin.com/tp/getwebcachedoc?webc=HRS/USA/2008/200802/GWS_handout_web.pdf. Accessed December 1, 2013.