New Year's Resolution: Take Steps To Reduce Employee Turnover

Resolve to reduce high costs with a plan for employee retention

By: Brett Bristol, PeopleFirst™ business solutions manager, Zoetis

Employee turnover usually is an indicator of a bigger problem that has not been resolved. 

If you suspect turnover is an issue on your operation, veterinary clinic or business, take steps to address it. Measure your turnover rate and costs, recognize the possible causes of turnover and address what’s hurting your bottom line.

Step 1: Determine whether you have a turnover problem.
Establish whether turnover is a problem that is costing you. Depending on the company, the American Management Association estimates turnover could cost anywhere from 25% to 200% of each person’s annual salary. Ask yourself, “What is acceptable turnover in the organization? What is one turnover event costing the company?” Then you can easily understand how the cost of turnover — everything from interviewing costs, onboarding, overtime and training time of other employees, plus loss in productivity — is hurting your organization.

Step 2: Recognize why employees are leaving.
There could be many reasons employees are leaving. How long they stay could indicate whether, at some point, they are becoming detached or disengaged. Opportunities for employee engagement start as soon as you’re integrating them into the company, and they continue through interactions with direct supervisors. It’s also important to know why employees stay. Many owners and managers might be surprised to learn that pay typically is not what keeps employees happy and makes them stay.

Step 3: Address how to prevent turnover.
Knowing when and why turnover happens should help you address common causes. To ensure your employees stay long-term, you’ll also need to:

  • Develop relationships. The relationship employees have with their immediate supervisor is one of the top influencers of workplace engagement.1 Employee engagement reflects a sense of commitment to the operation. A highly engaged workforce means less stress on management and ownership because goals will be met without a constant need to motivate. Also, companies with higher employee engagement have a 19% higher operating income than those without engagement.2
  • Create open lines of communication. Outline clear employee and organizational goals from the beginning. Employees want to know their role, where they are heading and how to get there. Employees should have specific goals that tie into the company’s mission. Each employee should be held accountable by management and have a part in the operation’s success. Through realistic goals, employees can be a part of the organization’s success and feel ownership in that success. Check goals on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Improve company culture. A positive work environment is a helpful, cost-effective way to maintain a happy, productive workforce. Awards, recognition and praise can go a long way. Regardless of whether the organization is reaching all of its goals, good work needs to be acknowledged. When employees reach their goals, celebrate those successes. If they don’t, go back, communicate and hold employees accountable again until they reach them. 

Once you have a strategy to help reduce turnover, you’ll know how to move forward to reach your long-term goals. for more ways to develop your leadership, employees and business or operation.

About the author

Brett Bristol is a business solutions manager for PeopleFirst at Zoetis. He works with cattle producers, equine business owners and veterinarians to meet their human resources training, development and leadership needs.

PeopleFirst is the industry’s first comprehensive human capital solutions program. These services were created in direct response to challenges customers expressed with managing today’s complex operations. For more help on employee and business management solutions, talk with a certified consultant, such as the ones available through PeopleFirst. Visit to learn more.

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zō-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on a 60-year history as the animal health business of Pfizer, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2012, the company generated annual revenues of $4.3 billion. With approximately 9,300 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2013, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 29 manufacturing facilities in 11 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information on the company, visit

Zoetis is the proud sponsor with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the American Veterinary Medical Association of the mobile educational exhibit Animal Connections: Our Journey Together. Families visiting the exhibit will explore the vast bonds between people and animals and learn about the important role veterinarians play in protecting animal and human health.

Download a high-resolution photo of Brett Bristol, PeopleFirst business solutions manager, Zoetis.

For further information, Contact:

Jessica Wolf 

Lindsey Langemeier
Bader Rutter & Associates

1 Corporate Leadership Council. Driving performance and retention through employee engagement. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2013.
2 Towers Perrin. 2007-2008 Global Workforce Study. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2013.



Mon–Fri, 8:30am–6:30pm ET

This site is intended for U.S. Animal Healthcare Professionals. The product information provided in this site is intended only for residents of the United States. The products discussed herein may not have marketing authorization or may have different product labeling in different countries. The animal health information contained herein is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace discussions with an animal healthcare professional. All decisions regarding the care of a veterinary patient must be made with an animal healthcare professional, considering the unique characteristics of the patient.

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Services LLC or a related company or a licensor unless otherwise noted. ©2022 Zoetis Services LLC. All rights reserved.