Blog Post |

Keeping Up with Changing Workforce Turnover Reasons: WorkStep’s Q4 2021 Top Turnover Reasons Research

Mark Bell

March 16, 2022

The supply chain is volatile. Just as one crisis seems to be managed another arises and continues the disruption. However, there is one constant. Each new challenge is still having a significant impact on frontline worker hiring and retention.

Studies found 75% of turnover can be prevented, but only if companies understand what the driving factor is behind employees leaving. With continuous changes to the industry affecting these reasons, merely conducting an annual or quarterly employee survey will not give an organization real-time insights they need to implement a successful retention strategy and retain their workers

WorkStep runs a quarterly report based on the users of our RETAIN software, which gathers anonymous feedback from tens of thousands of frontline workers from over 100 companies. This helps us track what the trending reasons behind turnover are and how new challenges are influencing these trends.  

The Pay Shift

Turnover within the supply chain reached over 55% in 2021. Many companies blamed pay as the #1 reason for frontline workers leaving positions and for the challenges with hiring. 

However, last year WorkStep’s study showed that pay only ranked #7 in the top reasons for turnover in the supply chain industries. Despite this, companies continued to increase pay until the wage landscape became too competitive. 

With each organization outdoing the next, more opportunities to leave positions for larger salaries opened up. Manufacturing and transportation industries alone saw a wage increase of over 6%.

WorkStep’s latest report examined 155 supply chain companies and gathered anonymous feedback from more than 18,000 frontline workers. It showed the competitive wage situation combined with inflation increasing 7.9% (the most over a 12 month period in 40 years) led to pay climbing from the seventh reason for leaving a job to second.

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The Turnover Reason Shuffle

Between changes with the status of the pandemic, an employee-centric job market, and the war in the Ukraine, it’s no surprise that many of the drivers for employees leaving have shifted. Aside from pay, some of the most significant changes we saw were:

     • Safety dropped from the #3 reason to #7 

     • Job expectations jumped up to the #3 spot

     • Scheduling only ranked #11 despite company’s concerns over this being a major turnover driver

What’s really interesting though is what didn’t change. The #1 reason for leaving remains the same – career growth. Frontline workers are still packing their bags most frequently for positions that can offer a path to promotion and opportunities to advance their careers. 

Keeping On Top of Turnover Motivations

The only way to keep ahead of turnover trends and prevent employee churn is by continuously gathering real-time feedback from your frontline. This information can be difficult to collect and distribute across an organization.

WorkStep RETAIN provides a platform that automatically delivers check-ins during key milestones across an employee’s career, collecting insights on satisfaction, and all in one repository. As organizational improvements are made, you can also track the impact this has on turnover. 

Interested in learning more about RETAIN and how it could help you execute your retention strategy to drive positive outcomes? Schedule a demo today!


Mark Bell

Mark Bell, VP of Marketing | markbell@workstep.com