A recent report by Oxford Economics1 suggests that the cost of replacing one ‘lost’ member of staff is a staggering £30,614, which includes the cost of replacement, management time, HR time and involvement and recruitment costs as well as lost productivity and income for the organisation. If you ‘lost’ ten staff in any year, that’s a huge £300,000 out the window – and it’s all avoidable.

With a median staff turnover rate of approximately 14%, organisations are struggling to retain employees in a market where there are increasing job opportunities and an increased war on talent as the economy begins to grow again. There is no set level at which point employee turnover starts to have a negative impact on an organisation’s performance, as much depends on the type of labour market in which the organisation competes. However, losing staff or high staff turnover is usually symptomatic of wider organisational issues which management need to address.

The bottom line is that high staff turnover decreases your productivity; reduces your competitive edge, reduces staff morale and creates recruitment and employee brand issues – in short out of control staff retention issues are a BIG problem. The good news though is that for most organisations, losing talent and high staff turnover is something that they can address.

Why do people leave organisations?

Employees resign for many different reasons. Sometimes the attraction of a new job or the prospect of a period outside the workforce is the reason. On other occasions they are ‘pushed’ (as a result of dissatisfaction in their present job, possibly because of a lack of training, development and career opportunities) to seek alternative employment. The move might also be prompted by a combination of both factors. A poor relationship with a line manager, leading to disengagement, can often be a ‘push’ factor behind an individual’s decision to leave the organisation. In fact, according to Robertson and Cooper, ‘people don’t leave organisations, they leave managers’2. This gives some sense of the importance of well developed management capability. Equally though, a sense of ‘value’ is a key driver with pay and reward often cited as a reason for leaving. Broadly though, staff engagement, perceived reward issues and lack of fulfilment or control of career are the key issues and along with line manager/ relationship issues, these are things that most organisations can address and more importantly, can put right.

Support from Baker Tilly Mooney Moore

We can support an organisation to identify where their staff retention issues are and help them put in place key activities which will address the issue. Our approach focuses upon

  • a. Establishing why employees are leaving
  • b. Impact staff turnover is having on the organisation

This provides us with a baseline from which to develop future activities and ensures that solutions are focused upon an organisation’s specific issues. The data obtained can be used to develop a costed retention strategy that focuses on the particular issues and causes of turnover specific to the organisation. Other key activities which we would consider include;

  • Staff Engagement Survey and focus groups to test organisational culture, values and behaviours and to understand reasons for staff leaving
  • Review of recruitment processes and job roles to ensure alignment and test adequacy in defining the right roles and getting the right people
  • Review of supervisor and line manager capability to test relationship building and staff relations
  • Review of career development and progression to understand opportunities for employees
  • Review of reward and remuneration strategies to test adequacy
  • Review of staff wellbeing initiatives – critically, care for staff mental and physical wellbeing is a key differentiator when choosing an employer.


Diagnosing the issues which result in high staff turnover can be relatively straight forward as the combination of staff feedback, review of processes and how work gets done can provide a clear picture of how effective your organisation is at retaining staff. We would however support an organisation to put in place a series of key actions which will address staff turnover issues and ensure maximum retention rates, for example:

  • Develop an Employee Retention Strategy (often linked to staff wellbeing charters)
  • Review and benchmarking of reward, remuneration and benefits packages
  • Creation of career development programmes aligned to talent management strategy
  • Review of terms and conditions of employment and creation of flexible ways of working
  • Leveraging increased managerial and supervisor capability and empathy to manage staff better
  • Creating a more enabling culture to motivate and retain staff
  • Creating a competitive advantage of holding on to staff and increasing your employer brand.

Baker Tilly Mooney Moore supports organisations to improve their performance. With a focus on identifying and developing competitive advantage, this work often focuses upon reviewing and supporting organisations to re-align their structure, processes and people policies.

To find out more contact Donal Laverty, Consulting Partner donallaverty@bakertillymm.co.uk +44 (0) 28 9032 3466

1 Oxford Economics – The Cost of the Brain Drain – February 2014

2 Robertson and Cooper – Develop Engaging Leaders