Attrition rates stabilize, but half of companies report at least 15% turnover

Around 2 in 3 employers had turnover that fell within their targeted range or lower in 2023, revealing that attrition rates are stabilizing, according to a June 27 report from Gallagher.

At the same time, about half of employers said they experienced a turnover rate of at least 15%, the report found.

“While low attrition rates are a positive indicator for an organization’s current ability to retain employees, this may not always translate to high levels of engagement and productivity, which can be impacted by macro-economic factors as much as an employee’s experience at work,” William Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher’s benefits and HR consulting division, said in a statement.

“Employers should control what they can by continuously seeking opportunities to better align employee experiences with evolving generational expectations and offering benefits and programs that will entice their workforce to stay with the organization,” Ziebell said.

Based on data from more than 3,500 U.S. organizations, 62% ranked retention as the top priority for HR and the second highest for operations (45%), following growing revenue or sales.

Every aspect of employee well-being — whether physical, emotional, career or financial — dropped between two to 10 points in its importance for employers. Yet about 64% of employers said emotional well-being remains a major focus, namely mental health and social connectedness.

A strong work culture remains a key part of employee experience, the report found, particularly building a sense of community that can create belonging, provide emotional support and reduce stress. About 35% of employers ranked a strong culture among their highest HR priorities, which has increased since 2023.

Employee experience and well-being factors may play into HR leaders reporting easier recruitment and retention so far in 2024, according to a report from The Conference Board. Flexible work arrangements were linked with better job satisfaction, while on-site mandates seemed to drive some employees away.

On the other hand, leaders tend to overestimate employee engagement, according to a Right Management report, which found a gap between what leaders think and what workers say they experience. Highly engaged employees were more likely to remain at their company, while those who were somewhat engaged were as likely to leave as disengaged employees.

Some factors seem to influence workers more in 2024. In a WTW survey during the first quarter, about 72% of employees said they plan to stick with their current employer. Employees’ top reasons for staying included pay, job security, health benefits and flexible work arrangements.