Talento | Employers

How to Avoid Excessive Employee Turnover for Remote Teams

by Carlos A. Vázquez    |    April 20, 2020    |      14 min read


Avoid Excessive Employee Turnover for Remote Employees

Employee turnover plays an essential role in keeping a company healthy. High turnover rates lead to high losses that can ruin a business. Turnover stems from a multitude of reasons so, prevent the bad from happening and watch what good can follow.

Working remotely can be challenging, and managing remote workers the wrong way can increase your turnover rate instead of decreasing it. Not being surrounded by co-workers and managers can create problems when leadership and culture are absent. This separation can drive a wedge between the employee and the work experience, resulting in an employee reconsidering their position as a remote worker and, as the study shows, leading to early-stage attrition.

But first, what is employee turnover? And why should we care about it?

Employee turnover is the number or percentage of employees that leave your company. Most employees leave prematurely because their needs aren’t met by their employers. According to Gallup, 51% of employees are currently looking for a new job, which means there are likely people in your office looking to leave.

What’s a reasonable employee turnover rate?

Since turnover rates can vary significantly by industry, it’s challenging to identify what a “good” rate is. For example, while the average turnover rate is around 18%, the average turnover rate for the IT industry is over 13.2%.

How do you calculate an employee turnover rate?

To calculate your organization’s employee turnover rate:

  • Divide the number of employees who have left your organization during a period by the average number of employees during the same period.
  • Multiply the number you calculated by 100 to figure out your turnover percentage.

The Impact of High Turnover Rates


That’s how much it takes to replace the average worker in the United States. There’s good evidence to suggest that the trouble with retaining tech talent is high-demand and rising compensation within the industry. As employers and offers get more competitive, top talent is more eager to jump on new opportunities. The numbers support this theory: according to LinkedIn data, almost half (49%) of departing tech employees take another job within the tech sector.

Reasons remote employees leave

From compensation to workplace culture, most employee turnover is preventable. Below, you’ll learn common causes for employee turnover, the impact it’s having on your business, and how to fix it.

Employees are worked to the bone

Office and remote employees feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the week to do their jobs. Having too much work on their plates week in and week out isn’t exactly motivating. When employees are overworked, it often leads to higher stress levels and employee burnout.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 3 out of 5 employees say they are burned out in their current position. These overworked and burned out employees will often jump ship to join companies that understand the importance of work-life balance.

How to fix employee burnout

To help reduce employee stress and decrease turnover, take a proactive approach. Make sure work is distributed evenly across your organization. If you’re not sure whether your employees are overworked, the easiest way to find out is by asking them directly.

Use anonymous pulse surveys to figure out whether your employees feel they are responsible for too much work each week. If the bulk of your staff indicates they’re overworked, it may be time to hire more employees—or at least bring freelancers into the mix.

Team members are treated differently

When the boss’s favorite employees get treated differently than everyone else, it’s only a matter of time before other workers get angry. You can’t let one employee make their flexible schedule if no one else is given that privilege and expect there won’t be consequences.

These inequities can also go beyond just playing favorites—especially when unconscious biases come into play. Our unconscious biases can take a variety of forms and often unintentionally influence how we perceive and treat someone with a different background or gender. When left unchecked, these biases can cause favoritism and even discrimination.

How to fix employee inequality

Make it a top priority to treat all of your employees the same. Don’t play favorites. Take a look at your current policies to ensure they are equitable and consider how your actions may be negatively perceived by your employees.

For example, if your company doesn’t have a remote working policy, you can’t let one or two employees work from home while expecting everyone else to show up to the office. It’s a surefire way to draw the ire of your staff.

Workers like making money and want better benefits

Who doesn’t want to make more money? If your organization offers miserly salaries and hesitates to give raises, chances are your team members will constantly be on the lookout for an escape. Our recent research has shown that nearly 50% of employees would leave their organization for a 10% salary increase.

Although 50% seems alarming, the good news is that it is a significant decrease from almost 90% in 2015. This also suggests that a good salary may not be enough to keep your employees from leaving.

Another top reason for employee turnover is that employees are looking for better benefits. According to an Aflac study, nearly 1 in 4 workers who are likely to look for a new job say that a benefits package shows their employer cares about them.

How to fix salary and benefits

Typically the better the benefits, the lower the turnover rate. This holds true by offering a flexible schedule and tuition assistance in applicable cases. Be generous with deserving employees, or it will only cost you when they leave.

Company culture is toxic

Workplace culture is strongly correlated with employee happiness. When workers love their company’s culture, they’re happier and more productive. When they dislike the company culture, they’re miserable and unmotivated.

Workplace culture affects everything from employee engagement to employee happiness. Employees who don’t align well with their company’s culture are 12% less likely to see themselves staying with their current employer.

How to fix company culture

As far as employee retention strategies go, this one is often overlooked. You need to get into the habit of encouraging and listening to all the feedback your employees give. So if you want to boost morale and employee happiness, it’s time you listened and acted on what your employees are saying. Don’t wait for an annual review, send weekly or monthly feedback surveys to your employees on various things – from new office design to the new marketing strategy or a new product you’re pushing out. Make sure your employees have a platform where they can voice their thoughts. Consider a suggestion box email that they can access at any time.

Employees hate their bosses

If you notice that a lot of your employees who work under a specific manager are jumping ship more than others, your company might not be the cause. It’s probably because the manager is terrible. Remember, people quit their bosses—not their companies.

Trust and transparency are two of the biggest factors that influence how your employees feel about their bosses. According to the Harvard Business Review, more than 50% of employees do not have a high level of trust in their bosses. This can affect how well respected your employees feel and directly impacts employee retention.

How to fix complains about managers

Oftentimes, employees leave managers, not companies. There are many negative effects of bad management on employees and a high turnover rate is one of them. For starters, do your due diligence and make sure you hire the right managers in the first place. Just like you’re invested in your employees’ professional development, you also need to support managerial training initiatives. Finally, keep tabs on your managers to make sure they’re doing a good job managing their teams. Great management enhances the success of everyone on the team.

Employee work goes unrecognized

You can’t expect your employees to bust their tails daily if they feel they are taken for granted. With only 1 in 3 workers reporting that they receive regular recognition, it’s no surprise that not receiving recognition is one of the top reasons why employees leave a company.

This is especially true for women. Our research found that in most industries, women reported they receive less recognition than men when they do great work. This not only affects your employee retention. It also can lead to a less diverse workforce.

How to fix employee recognition

We all enjoy hearing praise for our work. But what if you worked at a job where you never hear “Congratulations”? Unfortunately, that’s the reality for some employees. Tell your employees how much you appreciate their hard work and be creative in ways to recognize them. Here are some examples:

  • Verbal Praise: Sometimes, it’s enough just to say “Thank you, great work!” Offering verbal praise, but in a public setting, can boost the feeling of recognition an employee feels.
  • Written Praise: Sure, sending an email is nice, but an email sent to every employee about an individual’s success does even better. By celebrating success company-wide, you influence the entire team to work harder and experience that same kind of recognition.
  • Throw a Party: When a huge success occurs, sometimes a celebration party is appropriate. It might be hard with remote employees, but once in awhile fly them to meet the team in quarterly meetings or yearly meet-ups and celebrate achievements with a real party.

Chronic micromanagement

One of the biggest appeals of working remotely is autonomy. There is something intrinsically valuable about getting a project, finishing it at your own speed, and then using the rest of your time to either complete more projects or work on improving your skills.

When you don’t micromanage your employees, they are free to thrive, and with that comes the following enticing benefits that lead to employee retention.

How to fix micromanagement

When employees are allowed the freedom and independence that comes with working remotely, they are much happier. Also, the fewer distractions employees have, whether it be from you or another employee, the more efficient they are. Studies show that 82% of telecommuters report less stress when they are not micromanaged. Not only is this good for the employee, but this leads to a boost in morale, which is also good for the employer.

Hiring the wrong people

The hiring process is a good place to nip turnover in the bud. Take preventative action and hire the right people. Even though many candidates might fit the bill skill-wise, you need someone who will also easily adapt to your company’s culture and other employees. If you have an employee who isn’t meeting expectations, they may be hurting the company beyond the scope of their role by having a direct negative impact on the productivity of others and reducing morale. Replacing them with someone who will be able to do the work is the only way to solve the problem. Start at the root and prevent this by hiring strong candidates from the get-go.

Glassdoor reported that 35% of employers who hire new employees do so, expecting that more employees will quit in the year. If you’re already likely one-third of your new hires to leave, that’s not an excellent way to start the hiring process!

How to fix the hiring process

Make sure that you are hiring the right employees and that you don’t fall into that negative mindset. Many new hires admit that they would stay at a job longer if they were better informed about their role during the hiring process. Therefore be honest about what you expect from the new hire. Whatever you do, don’t omit details of the job just because you are desperate to fill an empty position. Being transparent is crucial in finding the right employee for your company.
The Wall Street Journal suggests you “Interview and vet candidates carefully, not just to ensure they have the right skills but also that they fit well with the company culture, managers, and co-workers.”

Lack of communication

If it’s not easy to communicate with your remote employees, you can rest assured your relationship will end almost as soon as it starts. Here are some tools that will make communication a breeze. When you don’t have an open and healthy line of communication, you make employee retention much tricky. Employees should feel like they can come to you with any and all ideas, questions, and concerns.

How to fix communication issues

Implementing a team chat app, like Slack, keeps an “open door” between the employees and management. As a manager, you can easily send a company announcement, the weekly goals, celebrate the employee of the month, birthdays, anniversaries, and so on. Plus, employees can contact you if they have a problem or want to acknowledge a win, and they can easily send feedback on any matter. Open lines of communication can also give you a heads up if someone is thinking about leaving. If you know in advance, you might be able to fix the issue and help them stay.

There are limited opportunities for career advancement

Employees expect to have some way to climb the corporate ladder at their jobs. After all, not many people want to be doing the same tasks for the rest of their careers. Having opportunities for career advancement is essential to keeping employees.

Without clear ways to advance, employees see no point in putting in years of hard work. This doesn’t have to mean that you promote every employee! Additional training opportunities should be available so employees can develop other skills.

How to fix employees growth opportunities

Investing in your employees is essential if you want to improve your employee retention. According to a recent LinkedIn’s workplace learning report, 94% of employees would stay with a company longer if they invested in their career development.

Show your employees you care about their careers by offering adequate opportunities for growth. Start a mentoring program. Encourage your team to go to relevant conferences. Keep your doors open and make yourself available. Invest in training and development, and support your employees’ professional goals by having career conversations often during your one-on-one meetings.

How to retain employees during a crisis?

  • Ask for your employee’s ideas and feedback so they can take ownership of the disruption. This will create more loyal employees who are devoted to beating the chaos and are motivated to help.
  • Empathize with the stress, don’t hide because you’re also anxious and stressed out. Acknowledge that everyone, yourself included, feels some form of distress. Be authentic in your communication as this will provide genuine reassurance, and your team members won’t feel like they’re alone in the chaos. “This is tough, but we’re in this together,” is something you should emphasize, and your employees will band together.
  • Encourage your team to ask for help. During a crisis, your employees may think that asking for help is a sign of weakness, but that couldn’t be further from the truth – tell them that. Just saying, “If you need any help, let us know what we can do” can go a long way.

A crisis can either make or break your business, but the difference here is based on leadership.

 Managers who are serious about employee retention strategies know that they need to do more than just the bare minimum. It makes no difference how big your business is, anytime an employee leaves, and it’s bad for business. The Wall Street Journal also found that “a high employee turnover rate can cost twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.” It isn’t just about the financial repercussions, but without excellent employee retention strategies, you’ll also lower the knowledge base, lower morale, and decrease performance. By following the retention strategies we dive into below, you can avoid a high turnover rate.

Retention strategies are a must during crisis management

A crisis here refers to cyber-attacks, man-made disasters, workplace violence, or a global pandemic like COVID-19, managers must get ahead to effectively manage the situation. Your employees are struck during disruptive times, from high levels of uncertainty to time urgency and negative morale, the strain only leads to lower productivity, reduced employee retention, and more serious financial problems – all of which can lead to organizational failure.

However, there are companies that come back stronger than ever. What’s the secret? Effective leadership.

Even when an employee’s personal and professional life is teetering on edge, it’s the best leaders who can help their team experience positive emotions. This is the key to keeping your team mentally healthy. When you have resilient employees then you have a more resilient organization.


There is no doubt in the value of finding a quality remote employee. Remote employees can save your company money, provide talent that you can’t always access locally, and help you increase productivity levels across the board.

Remote employees are the way of the future, and when you find a good one, it’s worth it to take measures to make sure they stick around at your company as long as possible.

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