top of page

Turnover. EN

Carmen López

Psychologist. Master in Human Resources.



Looking for talent doesn't mean that you have to read a lot of curriculums, but to follow the trace it leaves: An excellent work. Because the most important thing is not what you learn, or the companies in which you have worked in. The most important thing is what you do. 

You need five things to make your work exceptional: Energy, focus, time, creativity and an total commitment to quality. 

Behind these five pillars there's just one thing: Motivation. Motivation is the difference between the world champion and the second classified. Motivation makes a runner run to the finish line when he has no more stamina left, a climber reach an impossible summit, a creator fight against himself until his work is perfect. With motivation you find time where there's no more time, motivation keeps your energy level and your focus at the highest level, and makes you see the world differently. When you are motivated you are capable of throwing away an almost finished work and starting it again until it is excellent. 

The motivation is generated by the necessity. It's clear: If someone is hungry, no doubt he will put all his mental, physical and time resources to satisfy that necessity. The necessity is the motive; the necessity shoots the motivation up. This isn´t new. In the 1930's, Abraham Maslow proposed a theory about the human needs. According to it, the people who mobilize their resources do it on account of a necessity: Eating, sex, money, belonging, acknowledgement or self-realization. 


But to find the source of Talent we have to look beyond the necessity. There´s no doubt that the physical needs subjugate the rest: Hunger, thirst, to avoid pain... but in developed economies, these needs are very often covered. Most of the people are motivated by the superior needs in the Maslow Pyramid: Money, power, belonging, freedom, acknowledgement or self-realization. And how the marketing experts and the sales people know very well, the needs can be created, changed or slanted. You just need to control one thing: the beliefs. If someone is absolute convinced about something he becomes unstoppable. 

The beliefs are the origin of everything else. 




All companies devote a lot of time and effort selecting the people who will be part of them. They want an efficient, harmonious and profitable team. Bosses dream with teams who don’t create problems and whose gear is as productive as possible. Sometimes you can get that dream team, but it doesn’t lasts. Reality shows that people come and go, forcing the company to start over again. Recruiting is an onerous process that drains energy, money and time. It’s not just a big corporation’s problem, but medium and little sized companies too. 


When we show the cost of losing a talented employee to companies (specially SME’s) they startle.

Let’s make a little cost’s analysis:

Economic costs:

​Cost 1. Lower productivity. When somebody go, other people will take charge of her activities and it will impact directly on their own productivity: Lower quality, not fulfilled deadlines, closed projects… you name it.  
Cost 2. Lost knowledge, skills and contacts that she takes with 

Cost 3. Customers she takes with

Cost 4. Recruitment of a new employee. You contract a company to do it or your company do. Either way it costs money. You can count here a 30% of her annual salary.

Cost 5. Learning costs. A new employee needs between 6 months and 2 years to produce like the last one (If you are lucky and he/she is so productive)

The total costs are, according to Haygroup, between 6 and 18 months of the employee income depending on job, responsibility, technical other managerial skills and culture. Let’s put it simple: for a person whose income is 100.000$ per year you can count with a cost of 100.000$ if she leaves.

​Psychological costs (For the team):

Psychological stress on the team due to personal bounds with the one who leaves.

Psychological stress on the team due to more workload.

People that go often incite their workmates to go, sometimes on purpose.

Time and energy to teach the new workmate about IT, workflows, skills, politics…

Lack of motivation when people see to much people leaving. It leads to a lower performance.

​Organization Costs

​The new person has to adapt himself to the new team, and the team to her. Roles, ways to do things and sometimes even culture changes. According to HBR article “The New Path Forward: Creating Compelling Careers for Employees and Organizations” by CEB we are changing our way of working, going from an individual work to a teamwork, due to the growth of complexity of the projects the companies work on. You have to integrate your new employee not just on her new role, but on a team.


The investigation carried out by Allen, Bryant and Vardaman in 2010 show the seven most common causes behind turnover that managers can control. They are ordered by importance.

​1. Bad relationship with boss.

​2. Low job satisfaction. How much you love or hate what you do at work

3. Role conflict. When a person is asked to do contradictory tasks or has different obligations in different groups. It leads to stress.

4. No opportunity for promotion. People want to grow, learn, improve and be promoted, specially talented people. If they don’t get it, motivation drops and they search new challenges.

5. Stress. 

6. Bad relationship with workmates. The worst of it is giving someone a cold shoulder, but, poor communication, misunderstandings, rivalry, envy, jealousy lead to higher turnover.

7. Money. Important, but surprisingly not first, second or third rated.

There are two more causes of turnover, but they are out of the hand of the organization:

​1. Events in the life of the employee: family reasons, health problems…

​2. Job market: If a set of skills are highly demanded, there is more turnover due to offers and counteroffers of other companies.

In an interview in Forbes Magazine, Bernadette Kenny, CCO in Adecco explains that employees are starting to see their companies as promise breakers, hypocrite and non trustworthy. They assign those characteristics to their bosses and don’t feel they have to be loyal to them. 

The question you have to ask yourself is: Are you doing everything to keep your talent onboard? People doesn’t look just for a job. They want to belong to a group, they seek recognition and prestige, they want to be useful and to leave a legacy. A job is not just about making a living, but self-esteem and self-improvement. 


The investigations show that the highest probability of leaving comes when the employees meet with friends and compare themselves with the. How are they doing? Home much have they achieved? Which position they have? Salary? That’s why after a meeting with old schoolmates or alumni from college the probability of leaving go up 16%. Birthdays and work anniversaries (specially 40 and 50 birthdays) rise the probability +12%. These are moments where the people make balance and think: What have I achieved? It’s a natural thing, because in those moments of our life we have covered our basic necessities and we seek something more.  

According to Score Media Metric, a service that measures internet use, job searches exploded in  january 2016 by 32% in EEUU compared to previous year. With an unemployment rate similar to Switzerland’s, we expect a big rise on the turnover’s ratio, specially in high skilled profiles. 


​In this situation the companies that know how to retain their talent will have a clear competitive advantage and will reduce personal costs. Keeping your talent will be not just key to success, but key to survive.

Your talented staff doesn’t leave after making a logical decision. The decision to leave is emotional. How they feel in the company, how good is the relationship with the boss and with their workmates, how interesting, important and challenging are their daily activities are the main reasons to leave or stay. Salary, holidays and distance to home are important too, but are secondary.

​Most managers put finance results first and people second. But we have to make it backwards. Think about your people first, because they will bring you the finance results. You can start developing a program to evaluate, develop and keep your talent.

​Sure you have a mission, a strategy, a plan and financial goals. Have you got a plan to assess, develop and keep the people of your company?

bottom of page