Staff turnover is inevitable, and in some cases, it can actually be beneficial to an organization. Too much turnover can have a detrimental impact on the business, affecting productivity, costs, and overall performance.
It can be hard to predict if people will leave, but measuring turnover intention is a strong indicator of actual turnover. In this article, we will discuss turnover intent and its core elements, and how recruiters can utilize testing in the application process to decrease turnover intent and minimize employee turnover.
Why turnover intent matters
Turnover intent is exactly what it sounds like, when an employee intends to leave their job. This doesn’t always translate into the employee actually leaving as they may perceive a lack of better options or feel it’s too risky. However, even the consideration of leaving can be very detrimental for an employer and of course for the employee, with decreased morale and motivation as well as problems with achieving performance goals.
The factors that are at the core of turnover intent, similarly, are the same as the core elements of voluntary employee turnover.
Job satisfaction: An employee that is happy at work is not likely to be intending to leave; their satisfaction is related to effectiveness, productivity, and performance. Job satisfaction also includes the type of work and the responsibilities the employee has, as well as things like remuneration, work policies, commutes, and poor supervision.
Work relationships: Committed employees build effective working relationships at work. These interpersonal relationships foster a culture of trust and cooperation, which avoids feuds or unhealthy competition.
Organizational commitment: An employee that has a positive psychological bond with a company is less likely to be considering leaving. They are passionate and want to be long-term members of the team.
Policies: Workplace policies can be detrimental, especially when they are seen by employees as being unfair. This can include things like salary allocation and advancement opportunities. The perception of bias in the workplace can lead to unhealthy groupings and a ‘silo’ mentality, which can also affect working relationships, job satisfaction, and commitment.
Communication: Transparency and communication are important for employees to feel part of the team, and knowing what is happening in the wider business helps improve connection to the company, making it less likely that an employee will consider leaving.
Reputation: Although not always highlighted as a factor in employee turnover, the reputation of the business in terms of the local community and the wider industry counts. A company with a positive image is less likely to have a problem with employee turnover.
While many of these factors can be mitigated through improving culture, facilitating great communication, fostering positive relationships, and creating transparent policies aimed at making life better for employees, it is also possible to hire people with the intention of minimizing future turnover - and that can be achieved by looking at job fit.
Measuring for fit when hiring
The best hiring processes are designed to find candidates that are as perfect a fit for the role as possible. Recruiters need to know more about the applicants than the basics, and finding the right candidate is about more than just hiring for qualifications or experience. The right person for the job needs the appropriate soft skills and aptitude - and with the right tests, recruitment teams can also look into motivation and personality.
The Drives test is one way to assess for job fit above and beyond the usual aptitude and qualifications. Designed to give insight into what motivates a candidate to perform exceptionally, the test is inspired by Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model (1976). This model tells us that employees can be more or less motivated by factors of the role itself - such as the variety of skills required, the sense of a job well done, and knowing that the role has meaning. Autonomy and feedback are also key drivers that can lead to excellent performance.
Finding a candidate whose motivations match the role that they have applied for means that they are much less likely to exhibit turnover intent later on. Every role will have different levels of motivations that are important; popular drives will vary across industries as well. In the Drives test, these factors are ranked by allocating twenty points across nine drives:
The results of the assessment can be used to not only select the applicants who match the job requirements most closely, but also to structure questions that can be asked in the interview, or used as part of the individualized development plan when they are hired.
For the candidate, the Drives test is an online assessment that only takes about five minutes. Through the test, they have a chance to convey what matters to them at work, what they are looking for in terms of career preferences, and what motivates them to be exceptional.
Drives alignment and turnover intent
For recruiters looking to minimize future turnover, ensuring that the motivations of the candidate match the requirements of the job will improve job satisfaction and organizational commitment, helping to create a company culture that fosters strong employee engagement and wellbeing.
Ensuring alignment between a candidate's top Drives and the job that you are hiring for decreases turnover. Our team's study on Person-Job Fit that employees are 20x more likely to admit that they are thinking about quitting when their drives do not align with what the job offers - and there is a clear link between turnover intent and actual employee turnover.
The expense in terms of time and investment into recruitment, and in terms of loss of talent that comes from high levels of dysfunctional voluntary turnover, is one of the main reasons that using tests like the Drives assessment can be so valuable.
Applicants who are motivated by the work they are doing and are engaged with the company and their peers are less likely to consider leaving, which is why it is important for recruiters to make use of assessments like the Drives test to get a fuller picture of each applicant.