The State of Tribal Turnover

The cost of turnover in the United States is over $536 billion per year. Organizations in specific industries, like finance, sales and HR have the highest turnover globally. In 2018, Workforce Institute estimates that more than one in every four employees will quit their jobs. By 2020 they expect that number to be one in three. Employees who choose to stay in a particular organization are shortening their tenure. Men and women are staying put about 4.2 and four years respectively according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What’s causing the rapid departure?

Four Common Types of Turnover

There are four common types of turnover that you should be on top of in your organization. They are:

  • Involuntary Termination: Asking employees to leave, including firing them. It’s generally in the employer’s control. 
  • Voluntary Turnover: Employees leave on their own account for reasons such as new jobs, entrepreneurship, family, relocation, and leaving the workforce.
  • Internal Transfers: Employees accept positions within the organization.
  • Retirement: Employees end their service after they are eligible to receive retirement or social security benefits.

Of the four listed above, voluntary turnover is the hardest type to predict and prepare for.

Why Employees Leave Voluntarily

What’s to blame for the sudden exodus out of the workplace? Competition for one. The economy is booming, and there is fierce competition for talent. Since 2009, the number of voluntary quits increased by over eighty percent. But there is good news for employers who want to retain their talent. The majority of employee turnover is preventable.

Employees leave for various reasons, and you may be surprised to know it’s not always money. According to James K. Harter, Ph.D., Gallup’s chief scientist for workplace management, at least 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers. Here are the top five reasons why employees leave voluntarily:

  1. Career advancement or promotional opportunities: 32%
  2. Pay and benefits: 22%
  3. Lack of job fit: 20.2%
  4. Management or culture: 17%
  5. Flexibility: 8%

There are many ways to tackle this, and we’ll share specific strategies that you can use during our 2018 NNAHRA conference session titled, Make Turnover Work for Your Organization. If you miss that session, we’ll follow up with an article as well. You don’t want to miss it!

Tribes are Not Exempt

You may think that turnover isn’t a problem in your organization, but if it’s not now, it will be soon. Tribal unemployment has decreased significantly over the last few years. Bloomberg news reports that joblessness in areas with high Native American populations ranges from 3.5 – 21 percent. Cronkite news reports a 12 percent unemployment rate among Native Americans, which is significantly down from the highs of the recession. Because unemployment has improved amongst many tribes, it’s difficult for organizations to attract and retain talent in Indian Country. Tribes are not exempt from high turnover, and will need to put strategies in place to ensure they remain competitive.