Top Causes of Employee Turnover Revealed in Bruce Tulgan Research Report

With employers in every industry experiencing severe talent shortages, Bruce Tulgan and RainmakerThinking have just released their latest whitepaper on the topic—Winning the Talent Wars: Recruiting and Retention for the New Hybrid Workplace. 

Bruce Tulgan
Bruce Tulgan

Tulgan’s consulting firm, RainmakerThinking, has been researching innovating hiring and retention strategies since 1993. Tulgan’s 2001 book, Winning the Talent Wars (WW Norton), was hailed at the time for its real-life case studies and evidence-based innovative strategies. Their last whitepaper on the topic was released in 2018–2019, amid the severe pre-pandemic talent shortages.

This 2021–2022 whitepaper lists acute and longer-term factors driving today’s talent shortages and record quit rates among employees and reports new findings on causes of employee turnover, based on RainmakerThinking’s latest data and analysis.

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The top four causes of early voluntary departures (less than two years) among newly hired employees:

  1. Buyer’s remorse. When the newly hired employee is very disappointed by the real conditions of the job as compared with representations or promises made in the hiring process.
  2. Inadequate on-boarding and/or up-to-speed training process.
  3. Poor management. Being assigned to a disengaged or unsupportive manager.
  4. Limited flexibility when it comes to assignments, schedule, location/workspace, or other preferred work conditions.

The top five causes of “pent-up departure demand” and voluntary departures among mid-stage (two to five years) employees:

  1. Over commitment syndrome for an extended period with no end in sight.
  2. Poor management. Disengaged or unsupportive manager.
  3. Limited flexibility when it comes to assignments, schedule, location/workspace, or other preferred work conditions.
  4. Lack of career path. No clear steps toward role/position growth or advancement.
  5. Relationship conflict. Competing cliques, ringleaders, or other exclusionary social formations, or growing friction resulting from a lack of clear communication when it comes to collaborative work.

Winning the Talent WarsThe whitepaper covers acute and longer-term causes of today’s extreme talent shortages, as well as the costs of unfilled positions and unplanned employee turnover. Six concrete strategies to improve hiring and increase employee retention are provided as guidance for employers.

Click here to download the whitepaper.

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