Retention Insights

Guidance on how to use retention insights to identify and address critical turnover risks proactively

Jessie Walsh avatar
Written by Jessie Walsh
Updated over a week ago

What can I learn from this page?

How to use retention insights to identify and address critical turnover risks proactively

Who is this page for?

Account Admins


Retention Insights is accessible to all Engagement customers. For best use, we suggest the following:

  • Make sure your employee start and end dates are accurate for precise retention calculations (data for calculations is updated nightly).

  • Have data from at least one recent baseline Engagement Survey where Engagement is set as the Index factor.

  • Include the question "I still see myself working at [company] in two years time" in your baseline Engagement Survey. Including this question will improve the predictive nature of the insights provided in Retention Insights.

  • Although this feature accommodates all upload methods, we highly recommend maintaining an active HRIS integration or at least regularly updating employee start and end dates via manual uploads.

Why Employee Retention matters

If turnover is on the rise in your organization, how do you get to the ‘why’ to proactively address associated business risks and costs?

  • We all know it’s expensive to replace someone who’s left. The costs increase with more specialized and senior roles.

  • There is also significant cost to the individuals that stay, and the impact on their effectiveness. SHRM highlights some of the other costs associated with replacing staff. These include impacts to productivity, and emotional strain on those who remain.

  • Additionally, retaining key staff is often critical for ensuring that your organization is able to execute on its goals.

Most organizations track their actual turnover in their HRIS systems. This provides important and useful insights into what employees are staying or leaving. It doesn’t however provide you with a clear picture of:

  • Why your employees are leaving

  • What’s keeping the employees that decided to stay

  • How turnover may change in the future

Without these insights, leaders are often left guessing or relying on more generalized research on the common reasons for leaving when setting strategy, or executing on goals.

Retention Insights is designed to support you in identifying and preventing turnover risks. We give you tools to help you understand the workplace experiences most impacting your employees' desire to stay or leave.

Our Methodology

Helping you get to ‘Why?’

Our methodology follows three main steps to help you to determine the unique ‘why’ of your organization, and point to areas to take action:

How it works

Retention Overview

When you land on the analytics dashboard, you’ll see the Overview chart:

  • This shows you at a glance how Engagement, retention, and turnover has changed over time.

  • Select an Engagement survey (see below) to overlay on the HRIS data. You’ll see how engagement has changed over time in relation to employee’s decisions to stay or leave the organization.

⚛️ Expert advice: Our research highlights a close relationship in responses on intent to stay (commonly part of the Engagement measure) and what employees actually do.

  • How does your retention rate match Engagement?

  • Do you see a relationship between turnover and engagement?

Retention Motivators

This section elevates insights into what measured workplace experiences are impacting employee desire to stay or leave the organization.

Setting up the analysis:

Start by selecting the ‘commitment’ question in the drop down. You can select any question, but as noted above, our research highlights the close relationship between how people respond to this question and what they actually do. We strongly recommend selecting the long-term commitment question ‘I see myself working at the organization in two years time’.

Why is this important? - Our research suggests that employee responses to this question closely mirror how long they stay at an organization. The median staying time for employees who disagreed that they would be working at the organization in two years time was less than two years. The median staying time for those strongly disagreeing is roughly 1 year. This means we can confidently rely on results from this ‘intent to stay question’ as a useful proxy for future commitment.

Motivating desire to leave

Using Culture Amp’s analytics capability, we highlight the work experiences that are most affecting employees’ decision to leave where you have the greatest opportunity to improve.

Why is this important? - It’s important to understand how employees’ recent experiences are impacting their feelings of long-term commitment. We analyze the relationship between employee commitment and their experience at the organization as shared in the latest employee survey. If there are concerns in the organization about retaining staff, understanding their level of commitment and specifically what work experiences are motivating that feeling of commitment is critical to proactively retaining employees.

⚛️ Expert advice: If you are struggling to retain employees, understanding these workplace related motivators is a great starting point. Our People Scientists recommend that you don’t try to change everything. Pick one of these topics to focus on and see if you can shift employee experience notably on it. Track your progress in addressing the topic but also regularly return to the overview chart and track the business outcome - your retention rate. Is it improving as a result of your efforts?

Motivating desire to stay

Similar to elevating the work experiences impacting a desire to leave, this section of the report highlights those parts of your work environment that are most related to the decision to stay for the long term.

⚛️ Expert Advice: There may be no specific actions you will take on these topics but they can be useful to highlight to leaders looking for ways to hold on to talent. Ensuring you continue to maintain a positive experience on these topics will go a long way to retaining employees.

Group Analysis to Action

Turnover by Group

Often the overall retention rate, engagement and turnover numbers will mask key opportunities for focus within the organization. As noted above, how employees are experiencing work is often not evenly distributed across organizations. This is especially the case in larger companies.

The Turnover by Group section highlights the groups across your organization with the highest turnover. Select View More to see the unique top motivators for that group (if it has 25 or more employees).

Select All Groups to see a comparison table that’s sorted by highest turnover. See more of your groups’ details in this table by selecting each row, for a quick comparison between motivators for different groups.

Significant Turnover

This feature will enable admin to instantly identify groups with significant turnover - by highlighting groups where turnover across the last 12 months is higher than expected.

In the Turnover by Group section, this feature will highlight demographics that show significant turnover (where the difference is statistically meaningful). This is in comparison to the parent population (where the parent population is the current filter being applied, or the company overall if no filters are active).

The significance test relies on a minimum group size of 25, so groups below that will not be highlighted (and also fall under the minimum group size threshold for privacy / confidentiality).

⚛️ Expert advice: Our people scientists recommend that you look for groups that stand out.

  • Are there any surprises?

  • Are there any groups that are critical to the business success with unusually high turnover?

  • Share the insight with the business owner accountable for that group so they can take appropriate action to reduce future regrettable attrition.

Filtering by Group

The above Turnover by Group section is valuable in alerting you to the groups experiencing the highest turnover. However, it’s likely that there are critical groups/departments that your organization needs to maintain (or grow), to achieve its goals, where even slightly elevated turnover risks could be problematic. You can filter to any group or combination demographic using the filter function at the top of the page (e.g. Women in Leadership, Tenured Engineers, New Sales Staff)

There are two ways to filter via group:

  1. Directly from the group page that is opened using View More in the Turnover by Group section. Click Add Group as a filter button and see your adjusted details for this group.

2. Alternatively you can filter to any group using the filter option at the top of your page.

⚛️ Expert advice: Use the filtering capabilities to get the most strategic value from this tool. Filter down to the groups that are critical to executing on business goals. We recommend you ask these questions of the data:

  • Are there elevated turnover risks based on responses to the intent to stay question?

  • Are there unique work experiences motivating a critical group’s desire to stay or leave?

  • Are there any surprises in the data worth noting?

  • Will sharing these actionable insights with the accountable leader position that leader to get ahead of the turnover risk?

Getting the most from the report

To get the most value from this analysis, you will want to ensure the data is importing accurately. There are two sources of data that you will need and Culture Amp does most of the hard work here to get the data lined up.

  • Engagement Survey data

  • HRIS data

Guidance on selecting survey data

The first time you use this part of the product you will want to select employee experience data to overlay on your actual retention data. The product defaults to your latest Engagement survey, but you can easily change the survey. To do this, go to Data Sources and select the engagement survey you want to use. The associated trend surveys will automatically map and that data will then be added to your report. You can also adjust the trend surveys if necessary.

Note: You won’t need to do this again until you want to change the surveys that are displayed.

💡Tip: We recommend customers include the two-year commitment question (‘I see myself still working at [company] in two years’ time’) as part of the Engagement factor in their Engagement and Pulse Surveys. This will ensure that Retention Insights can provide the most accurate predictive insights into the drivers of future retention / turnover.

⚛️ Expert Advice: When selecting surveys to display on this chart we recommend:

  • Selecting Engagement surveys that include the long-term commitment measure. Much of the value of this analysis comes from our ability to highlight the workplace motivators affecting retention. As noted above, our research clearly indicates the value of understanding the work experiences that most impact long commitment.

  • Selecting broad based Engagement surveys. You can use pulse engagement surveys but they don’t tend to measure as much in the work environment so the motivators section won’t be as useful.

  • Selecting trend surveys. This allows you to track trends. Given that engagement can be a lead indicator of retention, seeing the trends is quite useful to inform decision making.

Guidance on data connection

This report relies on having accurate employee start and end dates. Without that information it’s not possible for us to calculate the correct turnover or retention rate. If you have not synced your HRIS data or uploaded accurate start and end dates for your employees manually, we recommend you do so in order to access Retention Insights.

How to connect your HRIS data:

  1. HRIS Integration - The most efficient way to get accurate information into this report is to set up an automatic HRIS data sync using our HRIS integration. We support integrations with the following HRIS platforms:

See also:

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