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What Is Involuntary Turnover?

Involuntary turnover is the termination of staff due to poor performance, with-cause incidences, or corporate restructuring. Learn more.

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Visier HR Glossary

Involuntary turnover is the termination or separation of employees from an organization without their choice. Involuntary turnover may be the result of poor performance, violation of company policies, restructuring, downsizing, or economic factors.

What are the impacts of involuntary turnover on organizations and employees?

Involuntary turnover can negatively impact both employees and organizations. Employees, of course, are impacted by the financial and career consequences of involuntary terminations. There are also emotional impacts related to self-esteem and confidence.

Employers also suffer negative impacts from involuntary turnover, including the costs associated with finding and onboarding new talent, impacts on productivity and morale, the loss of knowledge and experience, and potential negative impacts to their brands. In addition, involuntary turnover can have a negative impact on the employees left behind who may decide to seek opportunities elsewhere for fear that they might be next. 

How can organizations minimize involuntary turnover?

Employers can minimize the negative impact of involuntary turnover by establishing fair and transparent policies and procedures for managing performance, providing opportunities for employee development and improvement, and ensuring proper communication and feedback channels. Being transparent with employees who are underperforming or at risk of termination, and taking steps to help them course correct can help to reduce the risk of involuntary turnover in cases of performance-based termination.

Strategic workforce planning can also play an important role in minimizing the need for involuntary turnover through layoffs or reorganization by ensuring staffing levels are aligned with business needs and market demands.

What role can technology play in managing involuntary turnover? 

As we’ve seen, two primary drivers of involuntary turnover are poor performance and economic conditions. Technology can help organizations tackle and stay on top of both. Dedicated tools can be used to conduct a skills analysis to determine where gaps exist and to develop and deliver training to upskill and reskill employees as necessary.

Technology can also be used to take data-driven action to prepare for variations in economic cycles, helping to quickly identify areas where adjustments may need to be made to team sizes and structures, spans of control, and employment types. 

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