Involuntary Turnover: Effects, Causes, and Solutions

Employee turnover is an inevitability for any business. While there are many types of turnover, involuntary turnover is a particularly concerning phenomenon. Involuntary turnover, or the loss of employees due to forces outside their control, can have damaging effects on an organization. In this article, we will discuss the effects of involuntary turnover, the causes that lead to involuntary turnover, and potential solutions for minimizing its impact.

Effects of Involuntary Turnover

Involuntary turnover has a number of negative effects on the organization. First, turnover leads to a decrease in overall organizational productivity. The departure of an employee means that the company must invest time and resources into hiring and training a replacement. This process can be both costly and time consuming, resulting in decreased overall productivity for the organization (Lepak & Snell, 1999). Additionally, involuntary turnover can lead to a decrease in employee morale, as the remaining employees may feel vulnerable to the same fate that befell the departed employee (Kotter, 1972). The loss of an employee can also lead to a decrease in the organization’s knowledge base, as the departed employee often takes their expertise with them when they leave (Lepak & Snell, 1999).

Causes of Involuntary Turnover

Involuntary turnover is often caused by organizational factors. These can include organizational restructuring, budget cuts, or layoffs (Kotter, 1972). Additionally, involuntary turnover can be caused by managerial or supervisor-related behaviors. For example, some managers may be overly demanding, resulting in a hostile work environment and increased turnover (Lepak & Snell, 1999). Finally, involuntary turnover can be caused by internal conflicts between employees. These conflicts can occur due to a variety of factors, such as competition for resources, conflicting personalities, or a lack of job clarity (Lepak & Snell, 1999).

Solutions to Minimize Involuntary Turnover

There are a number of strategies that organizations can employ to minimize the effects of involuntary turnover. First, organizations should strive to create a positive work environment. This can be done by promoting open communication between management and employees, providing feedback and recognition, and fostering a culture of collaboration (Lepak & Snell, 1999). Organizations should also strive to develop clear job expectations and provide employees with the necessary resources and support to succeed (Kotter, 1972). Additionally, organizations should focus on developing strong relationships between supervisors and employees to create an environment of trust and mutual respect (Kotter, 1972).

In conclusion, involuntary turnover can have damaging effects on an organization, including decreased productivity, decreased morale, and decreased knowledge. The causes of involuntary turnover can range from organizational restructuring to managerial behaviors to internal conflicts. Organizations should strive to create a positive work environment, provide clear job expectations, and foster strong relationships between supervisors and employees to minimize the impact of involuntary turnover.


Kotter, J. P. (1972). The General Managers. New York, NY: Free Press.

Lepak, D. P., & Snell, S. A. (1999). Human resource management in the 21st century: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Management, 25(3), 513-543.

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