Change management motivation and retention problems with turnover


The impact of turnover on organisations if not effectively managed can result to huge negative implications for a business. An impact of this as described by Abbasi and Hollman (2000), shows that turnover can have a negative impact on the attainment of organisational goals and objectives. This suggests that the type and number of employees within a business at a given time can either be in favour of the business or against it.


The issue of retention and turnover level in an organisation characterise various types of employees who in turn are affected in diverse ways. These include volunteering employees within the organisation. With regards to volunteers, Wymer (1998) identified that it cost organisations 30 per cent more money when a volunteer leaves in comparison to a permanent member of staff.

Bussell and Forbes (2002) also identified that there is a great difference between the factors that attract volunteers to the organisation as opposed to the factors that assist retain them. This also suggests that there should be a method in place that identifies the reasons why volunteers leave and be seen as less of a priority because they are not actual employees.

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In the same vein, Murrant and Strathdee (1995) states that volunteers remain within the company if they are respected and valued. In line with this notion, volunteers want to be recognised for their efforts. (Callow, 2004). Thus, Jamison (2003) suggests that this is a great reason why employees choose to leave an organisation.

In another perspective, Moore and Ollenburger (1986), identify the differentiating factors between men and women workers which encourage continued commitment within an organisation. Men were more encouraged by achieving within their role, autonomy, the feeling of wanting to be important and tasks that assist stimulate their mind.

Whereas, women were encouraged more by interactions between colleagues, routine within their role and, aesthetics and leisure, this suggests that the retention strategies within an organisation determine the higher level of gender turnover. Thus, high level of women turnover can be associated with leaving arrangements regarding maternity and child care provision as factors also contributing towards women leaving organisations. (Maume, 1991).

Subsequently, according to Gomez- Mejia et al (1998), employees can decide to voluntarily leave the organisation. This is described as a choice that employees make to leave the organisation on the basis of personal issues or issues arising within the workplace. French, WL (1994) on the other hand identified involuntary turnover, a situation where employee is forced to leave as a result of layoff or being discharged of duty.


With highly skilled performers, organisations may find it difficult to retain employees. This is as a result of the skills level of the employees, this attracts other organisations to them and as such encourages employees to leave and work for other organisations. Given the South African issue, Hendricks (2006), states that employees with scarce skills are greatly demanded by the South African Government, and so are beginning to find it difficult to source these types of workers.

Hence, the government still finds it difficult to retain them within the organisation even after being sourced and recruited. This therefore is being highlighted as an area of concern.

In addition to the above, mangers within the private sector finds it also difficult to retain high performers. Litheko (2008).

It is worthy of note that the level of highly skilled employees leaving to other organisation occur every six years. Stovel and Bontis (2002). Thus, this means that organisations with highly skilled employees are at risk having to invest into spending more money and time on recruiting more staff that may again leave after a six year period.


Hewitts Associates,(2006) Sherman et al (2006) identified certain practices affecting retention and turnover as recruitment of staff, managerial styles and inability to recognise employee achievements.

In addition, is the work environment in terms of health and safety measures as the workplace can be toxic and lack of competitive compensative schemes. Job insecurity is another impending factor as well as the fact that employee's work is of little interest compared to when they first started their role.

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Herzberg (1959) study into employee motivating factors delves into the belief that it is those values within the company as opposed to those values outside of the company that encourages motivation of the role employees carry out. This therefore means that staff motivation take place within and is fuelled by certain aspects within their day to day activity that keeps them motivated.

Bassett- Jones and Lloyd (2005) opined that factors such as company policies, relationships with colleagues and their salary are reasons for employees continuous dissatisfied. In line with Herzberg (1959) views, these factors result in staff choice of venturing into another organisation.

Vroom, (1964), expectancy theory relates to motivation as a factor of turnover. His view related to the level of effort an employee makes towards their role that will in turn mean that they will receive a certain level of reward back. Therefore an employee motivation will be driven by what they receive by what they put in. If what they put in has not accomplished their desired outcome then this may mean that their level of motivation towards the role will be affected.

Management styles

The way in which managers, manage their employees, can also impact on retention and turnover. Osman (2008) believed that management plays a key role in reducing staff turnover. He believes that they should take turnover as a very serious area to focus on within the organisation. If however, this is not taking place, then the business could greatly be affected financially and will be a damaging aspect for the business.

The key extrinsic factors that have been identified by the work of Kinnear and Sutherland, 2001; Meudell and Rodham, 1998; Maertz and Griffeth, 2004 show that again good relationships with colleagues, job security and competitive salary can encourage further motivation. This also means that the manager plays a very important role in effectively lowering turnover and maintaining retention levels, if the appropriate measures concerning employees de-motivating factors are addressed. The combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic variables will need to be taken into account to effectively address the underlying issues.

Studies made by Johnson (2000) showed that a significant amount of respondents in regards to his research, felt that lack of appreciation was the main reason which lead them to wanting to leave their organisations. This follows up on from Herzberg intrinsic variables and the fact that again it would seem managers are the route of the problem as it is down to them to put in place ways of showing their employees that they are appreciated.

The leadership style adopted by the manager can also be a detrimental or positive factor in relation to the employee intentions to stay or leave. This had been recognised by Brewer (1993) that there is link between leadership and the commitment that the employee will show towards the role they are undertaking.

The lack of information given to staff or that managers are communicating with their employees could also be a factor to why staff leave. This view had been made by Sigler (1999) the lack of communication will mean that it is almost impossible for a manager to distinguish the good performers from the bad ones. A lack of information will mean that managers unsure of what should be told to their employees and employees not knowing what should be said back. This can lead to a good performer not feeling recognised or appreciated for their efforts as they will find it hard to separate the themselves from the bad performers.

Harris (2000) Viewed turnover as something that relates to recognising the commitment of the workers within the company and having an environment that will encourage employees to stay. This again, suggests that it is the managers that play a key role in ensuring that employees remain within the organisation and that ways and methods they have in place to recognise the achievements of their employees will have a positive impact on the employee.