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Understanding and Managing Employee Turnover Rate

April 11, 2024

Understanding and Managing Employee Turnover Rate

Employee turnover refers to the rate at which employees leave a business and are replaced by new employees. High turnover can be costly for businesses due to the time and resources spent on recruiting and training new staff. This article will explore the concept of employee turnover, current statistics in Malaysia, the top reasons why employees leave, strategies for uncovering the real reasons behind departures, and methods to combat high turnover.

What is Employee Turnover?

Employee turnover involves employees leaving an organisation and the subsequent process of replacing them. Turnover can be voluntary, where employees leave by choice, or involuntary, involving dismissals or redundancies. Understanding turnover helps organisations maintain a stable and motivated workforce.

Statistics in Malaysia

Employee turnover rate in Malaysia has been notably influenced by several factors, particularly dissatisfaction with pay and limited career advancement opportunities. A significant proportion of employers in Malaysia have observed an increase in turnover, especially among mid-career professionals. This trend has been exacerbated by the challenges of recruiting skilled workers at competitive prices. As a result, many companies are finding it increasingly difficult to retain talent, prompting a shift towards improving workplace conditions and offering better benefits to make positions more appealing (hr).

For more detailed statistics and insights on employee turnover rate in Malaysia, you can visit the HR Asia website.

Top 5 Reasons Why Employees Leave

Employees leave companies for various reasons, which can greatly impact an organisation’s continuity and morale. Here are the top five reasons why employees often decide to leave a company:

1. Lack of Career Advancement: Many employees leave because they feel stuck in their current roles without the opportunity for growth or promotion. If they see no clear career path or feel they are not developing their skills, they might look elsewhere for better opportunities.

2. Inadequate Compensation: Compensation that does not align with the market standard or does not reflect the employee’s perceived value of their work can drive them to leave. This includes not only salary but also benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and bonuses.

3. Poor Management: Management plays a crucial role in employee retention. Poor communication, lack of support, favouritism, or a toxic managerial style can push employees to exit. Good leaders are crucial for employee engagement and retention.

4. Work-Life Imbalance: Increasingly, employees seek a healthy balance between their personal lives and work. Overwhelming workloads, expected overtime, and inflexible schedules can lead to burnout, prompting employees to seek more accommodating employers.

5. Company Culture: A company’s environment and ethos can significantly affect employee satisfaction. If the culture is not inclusive, feels unethical, or is generally not supportive, employees might feel disconnected and leave for a workplace with a better cultural fit.

Identifying the Real Reasons for Departures

Identifying the real reasons why employees leave can be tricky, especially if they are not open about their true feelings during exit interviews. Here are some strategies to uncover more genuine insights:

1. Conduct Anonymous Surveys: Before employees leave, ask them to complete an anonymous survey that includes questions about their job satisfaction, workplace environment, and reasons for leaving. Anonymity can encourage honesty without fear of repercussions.

2. Exit Interviews: Conduct thorough exit interviews that encourage candor. Rather than a standard checklist, engage in a conversation that allows departing employees to express their feelings and thoughts freely.

3. Third-party Interviews: Sometimes, using a third-party to conduct exit interviews can result in more honest feedback. Employees might feel more comfortable sharing sensitive information with an external interviewer.

4. Encourage a Culture of Openness: Foster an environment where feedback is regularly sought and valued. If employees feel their input is genuinely used to make improvements, they’re more likely to be honest about their experiences.

5. Follow-Up After Departure: Sometimes, employees are more willing to share their real reasons for leaving once they are settled in a new job. A follow-up call a few weeks after their departure might yield more truthful responses.

6. Look for Patterns: Regularly review exit interview data and employee surveys for patterns or recurring issues. If multiple employees cite similar problems, this could indicate a deeper, systemic issue within the organisation.

How to Combat High Employee Turnover

Combating high employee turnover rates involves a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying causes of dissatisfaction at work. Here are effective strategies to help reduce turnover:

1. Enhance Employee Engagement: Create an engaging work environment where employees feel valued and part of the team. Regular feedback, recognition programs, and opportunities for professional growth can increase engagement.

2. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Ensure your compensation packages are competitive within your industry. Regular salary reviews, performance bonuses, and comprehensive benefits can help retain talent.

3. Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible working hours, remote work options, and sufficient vacation time. This not only reduces burnout but also appeals to a wider demographic of employees.

4. Foster Strong Leadership: Train managers to be better leaders who actively listen, communicate transparently, and inspire their teams. Good leadership is crucial for employee retention.

5. Provide Career Development Opportunities: Employees are more likely to stay if they see a clear career path within the organisation. Offer training programs, mentorship, and promotion opportunities to help employees advance.

6. Cultivate a Positive Company Culture: Develop a culture that aligns with the values and expectations of your employees. A positive, inclusive, and supportive workplace can significantly decrease turnover rates.

7. Implement Effective Onboarding and Orientation: A comprehensive onboarding process can help new hires integrate into the company culture more smoothly and align with company goals from the start.

8. Conduct Exit Interviews: Use exit interviews to gather insights about why employees are leaving. This data can be invaluable in identifying and addressing persistent issues within the company.


Effective management of employee turnover rate is crucial for maintaining a productive and engaged workforce. By understanding the reasons behind employee departures and implementing strategies to address these issues, companies can create a more stable and satisfied workforce. This not only enhances productivity but also positions the company as a desirable place to work, attracting top talent and reducing the costs associated with high turnover.

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