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Management: Employee Turnover and Retention Essay

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2020


This paper sheds light in the current state of research on employee turnover and retention through analysis of the contemporary theory. It goes a notch higher to examine the postulations of various researchers on the topic with the aim of evaluating their validity regarding employee engagement, quality of supervision, employee turnover, and employee retention. Finally, the paper discusses the implications of research and the applicability of the theory in understanding the various factors that influence turnover and retention.


Competition the global market is stiff and many organizations are faced with the challenge of managing it even though studies suggest that it has never been an easy task. For many organizations, they prefer the option of recruiting and retaining the best human resources because they are the core of any business in the modern world.

The costs of turnover are very high meaning an organization cannot risk losing the best workers who are familiar with the organizational culture and work schedule. For instance, the management has to plan for the recruitment costs, leave capitalization, temporary worker costs, relocation costs, and training in case employees exit the organization in mass.

Other challenges that the organization is likely to face include handling the expanded human resource, loss of productivity, and arranging for transitional meetings. Again, the management will miss meeting the required goals because the deadlines will have to be adjusted if important employees quit. Based on this, the organization has to do everything under its control to ensure the rates of turnover are lowered and the retained employees are satisfied.

Current Theory

Treuren and Frankish talk about job embeddedness concept derived from job embeddedness theory. They view client embeddedness as a form of job embeddedness meaning the extent at which the employee if attached to the organizational clients. In their analysis, they note that an employee might have a second though towards quitting because of the close relationship he or she enjoys with the clients. The existing literature talks about the various factors that may either encourage the employee to leave or remain in the organization for long.

According to Deconinck and Stilwell (2004), pay satisfaction has a negative correlation with the intention to leave the organization among workers. This means that non-material reasons are directly responsible for either retention or turnover in any organization, especially in the not-for-profit sector. In their study, Brown and Yoshioka (2003) insisted on the special role that organizational mission play in encouraging the worker to continue serving the organization.

In this regard, an employee considers intrinsic as opposed to extrinsic rewards when it comes to serving the organization. For the theorists, they observe that client embeddedness is likely to reduce employee turnover because their work life is positively correlated to the private life. Mitchell and Holtom (2001) were of the view that work life for an employee is like the net or the web, meaning he or she is likely to be stuck when the balance is not struck.

The theory posits that a worker is attached (embedded) to the organization based on the connections he or she has established with other important stakeholders, including clients. In reality, the employee is connected to the organization in three major ways, one being fitting within the job. The second connection entails the contacts that the worker establishes with people around him or her, as well as the major organizational activities.

The theorists and researchers of the theory refer to this situation as linkage. Finally, the connection of the employee comes because of the cost of living, as many workers are likely to turn down the chance of joining another organization for fear of losing resources in the process of transferring or relocating.

According to Burton (2010), employees with a high level of embeddedness, which is determined through analysis of fitness in the workplace, the linkages, and sacrifices, are unlikely to quit the organization even though they might be dissatisfied with the way things are carried out. Job Embeddedness theory has various features with the main one being its recognition of the fact that employees are always connected to the organization for effective and non-effective reasons.

Initially, it was believed that an employee would quit the organization because of disaffection, dissatisfaction, and the availability of alternative jobs elsewhere. However, the brought in new realities, as it was established that other reasons, including the cognitive ones, might play a bigger role in employee turnover.

The new form of job embeddedness, which is client embeddedness, is known to reduce the rates of turnover in various ways. For instance, a worker may not quit the organization because of the close relationship he or she enjoys with the client, something created through the recognition of the importance of the work. For some workers, they develop positive work-based identities with clients and they are unwilling to interfere with these identities by simply quitting the organization.

The current State of Research

The current studies talk too much about job embeddedness, but their scopes are limited in the sense that they restricted to various regions implying their results and findings cannot be utilized effectively in generalizing the reasons that cause turnover and retention in organizations. It is recommended that future studies increase their samples to cover wider regions, as this will help in the global generalization of the problem.

While various studies suggest that the reasons for retention are mainly non-financial, the case is different in the private sector where employees are constantly in search for greater opportunities to realize self-actualization. The studies further suggest that employees are unwilling to quit because of the relationships they establish with the clients and co-workers. In other words, the findings suggest that workers are comfortable serving organizations and that there is no chance for conflict between their private lives and work life.

However, such findings are inaccurate because workers will always have trouble adjusting their lives to suit the work environment. Many workers are struggling to bring up their families because the time at which they leave work in the evening is insufficient to attend their children.

For some, they have to attend classes after work with the aim of improving their skills and knowledge, something that makes them operate like machines. Workplace stress is one of the greatest causes of turnover and the organization that provides support to its employees is likely to retain a large workforce. Unfortunately, the studies rarely talk about this aspect, as many researchers focus too much on the new theories.

Implications and Application of Research/Theory

Coining of client embeddedness is a breakthrough in research as far as turnover and retention of employees are concerned because it will help in studying the behavior of clients and assigning new roles to them. Whenever the management establishes that workers have special relationships with their co-workers are clients, it will aspire to create enabling work environments, as they will serve a great purpose of retaining workers and lowering the rates of turnover.

The idea that an employee carries out some sort of research before moving into the new position in a different organization is interesting to the managers, as they will always do their best to ensure workers are always satisfied knowing that it will influence their decisions when the time for quitting comes. It is, therefore, a challenge to many organizations to set up strategies that will always attract workers to continue working serving them.

Human resource departments in various organizations are yet to appreciate the special roles that relationships play in increasing employee effectiveness, trust, and loyalty. As Tews, Michel, Xu, and Drost (2015) put it; fun is very important in bringing employees together in the organization hence the management should redefine its relationship with the workers to ensure that social activities, especially sports and games, are incorporated into the work schedules to break boredom and facilitate relaxation.

In their study, they looked at how the various forms of fun influence employee productivity, including the fun activities, the support that the manager offers to the fun activities, socializations at the work place, and fun-job relationship. The finding of their study was surprising since they revealed that fun is the leading predictor of employee engagement. For many researchers, they always believed that the existence of an efficient reward system was leading in employee satisfaction.


Brown, W., and C. Yoshioka. 2003. “Mission Attachment and Satisfaction as Factors in Employee Retention.” Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 14(1), 5–18.

Burton, J. P. (2010). The Buffering Effects of Job Embeddedness on Negative Shocks. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 76(1), 42–51.

DeConinck, J. B., and C. D. Stilwell. 2004. Incorporating Organizational Justice, Role States, Pay Satisfaction and Supervisor Satisfaction in a Model of Turnover Intentions. Journal of Business Research, 5(3), 225–231.

Mitchell, T. R., B. C. Holtom, T. W. (2001). Why People Stay: Using Job Embeddedness to Predict Voluntary Turnover. Academy of Management Journal, 44(6), 1102–1121.

Tews, M.J., Michel, J., Xu, S., & Drost, A. (2015). Workplace fun matters … but what else?” Employee Relations, 37(2), 248-267.

Treuren, J.M., & Frankish, E. (2014). Pay dissatisfaction and intention to leave. Non-profit management and leadership, 25(1), 5-25.

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