Staff Turnover: The Real Bottom Line


Job satisfaction is a term that is used to refer to the way in which one is contented with his job and in most cases, Job satisfaction is among the important factors that determine the employee’s motivation in any given organization. This aspect heavily impacts the production capacities as well as the employee turnover. Employers whose organizations have little or no job satisfaction always experience high turnovers because the employees choose to seek employment in other areas that could grant them satisfaction. According to research, the biopsychological impacts of work satisfaction and dissatisfaction on the modern worker suggest that one’s level of satisfaction with a job has an impact on mental and physical health and overall life satisfaction. Most research that explores job satisfaction suggests that satisfaction with one’s job is related to the kind of tasks that are involved and that satisfaction with those tasks is the greatest predictor of overall job satisfaction(Denvir & McMahon 1992, p. 143 )

The role of job satisfaction

The significance of job satisfaction in a firm’s performance or output has been a subject of discussion for a very long time. However, due to the current business climate of continuous changes and uncertainty, the importance of job satisfaction to organizational performance needs to be looked at from a new perspective. The fact that most employees don’t stay for long in a particular organization is a problem facing most companies. Therefore organizational knowledge is taken out to other competing organizations. One of the solutions to this problem would be working on policies that will ensure employee motivation and satisfaction in their places of work to avoid high turnovers that would eventually lead to the reduced business output. When there is job satisfaction among employees, the thought of quitting jobs does not easily linger in their minds hence the business productivity of the given company will be sustained (Denvir & McMahon 1992, p. 143).

Models of job satisfaction

The following are some of the models of job satisfaction: The Affect theory, the Dispositional theory, and the two-factor theory.

The Affect theory was developed by Edwin A. Locke in 1976 and its one of the most famous job satisfaction models. Based on this theory, job satisfaction is determined by a discrepancy between what an employee needs and what is available in a job. This theory further states that the degree to which a given facet of work is valued also determines how satisfied an individual will be. On the other hand, the dispositional theory is a wider concept that signifies that individuals have inborn elements which make them develop a tendency towards a specified extent of satisfaction despite the kind of job the individual performs. This theory was developed by Jackson in 2007. Lastly is the Two Factor theory (motivator-hygiene theory) that endeavors to explain satisfaction and motivation in the workplace and it postulates that both job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are a result of a number of diverse factors. These factors are primarily motivation and hygiene (Cranny & Stone 1992, p.174).

Causes of job satisfaction

According to Furnham (2005, p. 331) there are various factors that are associated with the causes of job satisfaction and they can be grouped into three major categories.

  1. Organizational policies and procedures: These are factors which concern things like reward systems, supervision practices, decision-making processes, and the perceived quality of supervision.
  2. Job: such as workload, autonomy, and skill
  3. Personal characteristics: Some of the characteristics that help in determining job satisfaction include self-esteem and the employee’s ability to tolerate stress and general life satisfaction.

Shultz (1998) reviewed some of the personal characteristics that are associated with job satisfaction and they are as follows:

  • Age: satisfaction increases with age most likely because it increases confidence, competence, self-esteem and responsibility.
  • Gender: Men are believed to be more satisfied than women possibly because they tend to get better pay and have more opportunities for promotion.
  • Job experience: Research shows that new workers are normally more satisfied with the stimulation, challenge, and opportunities but these levels off and declines but it pick up again with time.
  • Occupational level: In most cases, seniority is associated with satisfaction. Therefore people in senior positions are usually more satisfied with their work as compared to their subjects.

Staff turnover

Abasi (2000) defines staff turnover as workers’ rotation in a labor market. The labor market includes firms, jobs, and occupations. According to Dess (2001, p.448), the term turnover itself means the ratio of the number of organizational members who have left during the period being considered divided by the average number of people in that organization at that point in time. In most cases, managers use the term ‘turn over’ as the entire process that is related to filling a vacancy. Each time a position is vacated either voluntarily or involuntarily, a new staff member has to be hired and trained.

Research indicates that people who are more committed and less stressed have a high possibility of staying in a given workplace for long. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for employers to focus on building their relationships and support which includes work-life balance for married employees with children. In addition, there should be a development of programs to handle stress management, reduce work dissatisfaction and facilitate loyalty to the organization.

Harrison & Cameron (2005, p.160) ascertain that variables like job satisfaction and organizational commitment are mediating factors to staff turnover in any workplace. On the other hand, Taylor & Weiss (1972,p.129) found out that job satisfaction actually predicted employee turnover.

Effects of employee turnover

Employee turnovers affect work institutions because it becomes expensive to keep recruiting, training and hiring new staff every now and then. In addition, voluntary quits represent a loss of human capital investment from an organisation and the subsequent replacement process normally imposes manifold costs to the organisation. Such replacement costs normally include the search of external labour market for a possible substitute, induction of the chosen substitute, selection between the competing substitutes, formal and informal training of the chosen substitute. The later is done until the individual attains performance levels that are equal those of the person who quit (John 2000, p.715).

In addition to the replacement costs, the organisation’s output is affected to some extent or has to be maintained at the cost of overtime payment. As a result, the issue of staff turn over is treated with utmost importance because it has significant effects on the organisation. On the other hand, staff turn over has an effect on customer service and satisfaction (Ferris & Sherman 1995, p.610).

How to increase job satisfaction and minimize staff turnover

In order to reduce the turnover of staff in an organization, the following are some of the things to put in consideration: Improving the existing policies towards staff recruitment, selection, induction, training, job design and salary payment. However, policy choice has to be appropriate to suit the problem at stake. If the employee turnover is attributable to poor selection procedures, it becomes more unlikely to improve the policy modifications in order to exclusively focus on the induction process (Catherine 2002, p. 106).

In a similar way, the staff turnover attributable to wage rates which produce earnings that are not competitive with other firms in the local labour market is unlikely to reduce the policy adjustment just to enhance the organisation’s provision of on –the job training (Catherine 2002, p. 106).

The following are some of the elements that can be modified in a place of high staff turnover to improve on job satisfaction of the employees:

  • Conditions of service
  • Recognition and reward
  • Organizational loyalty to employees
  • Workplace design
  • Job significance
  • Performance management
  • Loyalty to the organization

Aim of study

The aim of this research project will be to determine the influence and importance of job satisfaction on staff turnover.


The following are the specific objectives that will be used to guide the project.

  • To find out the importance of job satisfaction in relation to staff turn over
  • To find out the influence of job satisfaction on staff turnover
  • To determine the measures that can be used to mitigate staff turn over
  • To determine the impact of staff turnover to an organisation

Outline of research method

This project will utilise questionnaires as a source of primary data collection and a thorough literature search as the secondary method of data collection. The secondary source of data will be important in giving authenticity and backup to the already collected primary data. Use of questionnaires in data collection has been acknowledged by most researchers as a reliable method as compared to other methods of data collection (Foddy 1993, p.256). This is mainly because questionnaires are normally developed under the guidance of the research objectives to ensure that the questions are constructed in line with the study being carried out. Questionnaires are also appropriate for use to the researcher because they are cheap to develop and administer to the relevant respondents. They are also time saving as compared to the use of interviews.

According to Robson (1993, p.178), well developed questionnaires are of great significance to a researcher because it helps in generating uniform answers from various respondents. In addition, if open-ended questions are used, the respondents get a chance of expressing their views freely because they don’t exposed to any kind of restrictions. Another reason as to why questionnaires are good to use is that during construction, efforts are made to ensure that the questions are connected to the relevant literature. This is necessary because it helps to devise and organize the questions in a manner that is easy and logical to use to avoid the inclusion of negative questions.

The questionnaire will then be taken through a pilot test to improve its content. The researcher will some peers to act like respondents and give feedback to the questions. The acting respondents will then be asked to point out any problems in the questionnaire so that it can be improved.

The potential respondent (target population) of this research project will be the employees and managers of selected companies known to have high turnover of staff. Such respondents will be accessed physically in their places of work and given the questionnaires to fill in and give a feedback later within a given time frame. Sampling of the respondents will be done based on the research objectives because the information being sought requires specific respondents (Wood 2010, p.151).

This research project will be carried out according to the IRB norms and ethical considerations. It will pay attention to the following issues of concern.

  • The respondent will be required to fill consent forms in order to ensure that they provide information at their own will.
  • Permission will be sought from the relevant authorities before executing the research project.
  • The data that will be provided by the respondents will be treated with utmost confidentiality. This is important in avoiding any form of disputes from arising among the respondents and the management of the companies they work for. Privacy of the respondents will be ensured by assigning randomly generated numbers in the process of identifying different sets of results instead of using specific names.


The main limitation of this research may be the accessibility to the primary source of data. Since this study will use questionnaires, getting access to the top management and employees of different participating companies may be abit difficult. In addition, some respondents of this study may not have time to give feedback to the research questionnaires due to their tight and demanding schedules. However, the researcher will endeavour to persuade the respondents to allocate some time for the study by trying to explain to them the importance of the study and the impact it could have in improving matters related to job satisfaction and staff turnover.


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Cranny, S.& Stone, H.( 1992). (2002). Deconstructing job satisfaction: separating evaluations, beliefs and affective experiences. Human Resource Management Review Volume 12(1): 173-194.

Denvir A, McMahon F (1992). “Labour turnover in London hotels and the cost effectiveness of preventative measures”, Int. J. Hosp.Manage. Volume 11 (2) : 143-54.

Dess, D.(2001). “Voluntary turnover, social capital, and organizational performance”, Acad. Manage. Rev. Volume 26 (3): pp 446-56.

Ferris, G & Sherman, D. (1995). Handbook of human resource management. Cambridge: Wiley- Blackwell.

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Furnham,A.(2005). The psychology of behaviour at work: the individual in the organization. NY: Psychology press.

Harris, G & Cameron, J.( 2005). “Multiple dimensions of organisational identification and commitment as predictors of turnover intentions and psychological well-being.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. Volume 37(3), pp 159-169.

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Robson, C. (1993). Real World Research. Oxford: Blackwell.

Taylor, K & Weiss,D. (1972). “Prediction of individual job termination from measured job satisfaction and biographical data.” Journal of Vocational Behavior. Volume 2(1):123-132.

Wood, J. (2010). Basic steps in planning nursing research. NY: Cambridge University press.

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