5 types of employee turnover and how to manage them

Nobody stays in the same job forever, that sounds more like an episode of black mirror to fulfill the job!

Change at work is inevitable, whether we choose to take advantage of a new opportunity, move to another city, raise children, or eventually retire. That’s billing; the rate at which employees leave an organization and are replaced by new people.

Low turnover is generally considered desirable. Replacing employees is expensive and all organizations want to keep their best people. But not all turnover is bad, or even avoidable!

Today, we’ll explain the top 5 types of employee turnover and share ways to manage them all. Turnover is not something to be afraid of, as long as you know how to manage its impact on your organization.

voluntary rotation

This type of turnover occurs when employees make a voluntary decision to leave. They could be taking on a new role elsewhere, or focusing on other parts of their life, like caring or even travel!

Often this type of turnover is unfortunate. Voluntary turnover tends to be more expensive and has a greater business impact, because there were often no performance issues with the employee who left.

In general, HR leaders aim to reduce voluntary turnover. But of course it is unavoidable to some extent. Everyone will eventually leave an organization, for voluntary or involuntary reasons.

Voluntary rotation management

Communication, transparency and trust are essential to reduce voluntary turnover. Establish clear communication and feedback loops, such as through 1-1 meetings, along the the employee’s time in your organization. The idea is to be aware of how people are doing and how their experience could be improved, before they decide to start looking for other opportunities because they are exhausted or overwhelmed.

When voluntary departures occur, take stock of why through an exit interview. Look for patterns in why people leave so you can reduce this type of turnover in the future.

involuntary rotation

Involuntary turnover means that the organization, not the employee, made the decision to terminate employment. Usually this happens for performance reasons. Perhaps the employee is not achieving important results or there is some other type of problem with his work or behavior.

But involuntary turnover doesn’t always mean a person is unqualified; it may mean that he was not a good fit for that particular role. So while involuntary low turnover is generally a good thing, there’s nothing wrong with ending a situation that wasn’t working.

Management of involuntary turnover

Reduce involuntary turnover by spending more time and energy hiring the right people. That means investing in fine-tuning the way you recruit, interview, and onboard candidates.

Do new employees know exactly what to expect? Do you know exactly what your skills, strengths, and interests are? When everyone knows exactly what they’re getting into, things are much more likely to work out for all parties.


Many people use the words rotation and wear interchangeably; however, there is a distinction between these two terms. Turnover technically refers to the rate at which employees leave an organization and are replaced within a given period of time. Attrition, on the other hand, refers to cases where an employee leaves a company, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and the company makes a strategic decision not to take the position again.

Layoffs are a common type of abandonment, caused by company restructuring, reducing or eliminating projects and roles.

If the wear is extremely high, it could be a red flag. But in general, this type of turnover is not a cause for concern. It’s a natural part of the employee life cycle, and it’s also normal for organizations themselves to grow and change.

Attrition management

Reducing attrition is very different from other types of turnover, as attrition is primarily due to layoffs, which virtually all employers already want to avoid.

But overall, being intentional and deliberate about not over-hiring can be a good way to reduce burnout down the road. This was especially clear with last year’s unprecedented layoffs across the tech sector.

woeful turnover

As the name implies, this is the most problematic type of billing. Dismal turnover means the company is losing a valuable, high-performing employee, someone it would have preferred to keep.

Any organization is only as strong as its people. That’s why reducing woeful turnover and retaining top talent should be a key priority for HR leaders.

Regrettable turnover management

Since a company would rarely lay off high-performing companies, regrettable turnover can be considered a subset of voluntary turnover. It can be managed with the same strategies that you would use to target voluntary turnover, in general. Additionally, high-performing workers have many employment options, so competitive compensation is crucial.

Bad management practices are one main reason that many people quit their jobs, even if they love the job! Investing in great management can help companies retain exceptional talent and keep overall turnover low.

Internal transfers

Internal transfers mean that employees are taking on new roles, but within your organization.

In general, this type of rotation is a good thing! Many internal transfers mean that your company offers upward mobility and pathways for people to pursue their career goals. This type of ‘talent mobility’ It has been associated with better business results, including profitability, innovation, and customer satisfaction.

However, employees may seek internal transfers for the same reasons they would want to leave any other job: poor management, toxic team environments, unrealistic expectations, and unfair pay.

Internal rotation management

You do not want to reduce opportunities for internal mobility. But you do You want to make sure employees are moving for the right reasons!

Be on the lookout for this type of problematic internal turnover by continuing to conduct “exit interviews” when employees transfer internally, even though they are not actually leaving your organization.

Turnover rate monitoring

When trying to understand the state of turnover in your organization, turnover the rate is the most useful metric, not the number of employees leaving or being replaced.

Imagine that a company that employs 5,000 people sees 35 of those employees leave in a month. That sounds like a lot! But in reality, it’s much less of a concern than the departure of 15 people from an organization that employs only 100. That’s because it’s a much smaller proportion of its total workforce.

Calculating turnover rate is easy. Just divide the number of employees who left, by the total number of people in the organization (before that departure, obviously). Then multiply by 100 to find a percentage.

In the example above, the company of 5,000 people has a turnover rate of 0.7%. But the 100 person company has a 15% turnover rate, definitely cause for concern!

What constitutes a “good” turnover rate varies greatly by industry, company, and individual role. As a rule of thumb, 10% turnover or below is quite good. If you’re not sure, try looking up average churn rates within your industry or among your competition.

Communication: the key to managing billing

To reduce turnover, we need to create workplace experiences that feel healthy, positive, and meet the needs of employees. The only way to do that is to listen to what those needs are and be open and honest about how we can meet them, but building strong relationships with dozens (or hundreds) of employees is no easy feat!

15Five’s performance management platform was designed to make performance monitoring and communication easier and more effective at scale, helping managers organize and adopt tactics to stay in touch with their people.

Within the 15Five platform, managers can schedule regular 1-1 meetings, record how things went, generate performance and engagement insights, and track progress toward critical goals and objectives. That means your business has an accurate overview of what’s going on with your people, all the time.

For more information, please contact us with any questions or book a 15Five demo today.