Too often, workers without critical employment protections like paid sick time, paid family and medical leave, stable schedules, and access to a sustainable number of hours find themselves forced to quit their jobs. Or, the normal vagaries of life that make such protections so crucial arise without adequate flexibility and workers end up getting fired for responding to them. Jobs are lost in a blink of the eye.

But this job loss isn’t just the worker’s problem—or her family’s. Rather, employee turnover comes at a high cost for employers, who must foot the bill for the advertising, recruiting, background checks, benefits administration, training, etc. that are required to onboard new employees. And even the most highly qualified employees are unlikely to perform at top capacity when they are first hired, meaning losses in productivity.

Although these costs are significant, many employers do not know how to easily calculate them, so they go unaccounted for. This month the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) released a new turnover calculator, a straightforward tool that enables businesses to easily calculate their turnover costs by answering some basic questions. The tool produces figures that reflect the latest data on turnover costs.

From small, “mom and pop” establishments to massive retailers, a growing number of employers are recognizing the urgency of limiting turnover. Moreover, many are acknowledging the important link between workplace policies and turnover. For example, a recent story in the Washington Post referenced a partnership between the Gap and leading researchers to study the effects of giving its employees more stable and predictable schedules, including the impact on turnover. Researchers expect that the Gap’s initiative will prove worthwhile. Co-Primary Investigator Professor Joan Williams told the Post, “Our hypothesis is that if you provide people with more stable schedules, you’ll see lower turnover

[and] absenteeism and higher worker engagement.”

Other research makes this a well-grounded hypothesis. One study of retail employers found that when managers more closely considered employees’ scheduling needs, stores had 22.9 percent lower turnover and 6.6 percent greater retention.

Employers need not embark on a major research study to figure out what turnover means for their bottom lines. The new CLASP-CEPR turnover calculator is an accessible tool that can help any employer make sounds decisions. The tool is also an important addition to the body of evidence that reinforces the need for fair, sustainable workplace policies, including paid leaves, flexibility, stability, and predictability.

photo credit: istockphoto.com