What is turnover costing you?

Go Back


Six million people work supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the US. Estimates are that annual staff turnover in this workforce averages 50%. You and I will need to recruit 3 Million new employees this year.  This is like saying we must recruit the combined population of Philadelphia and Phoenix to our field every year!

This costs the system $15 Billion annually in direct costs to organizations desperate for money.  What is it costing your agency? You can calculate the cost of turnover to your organization by using the Quillo online calculator.  Enter in your total number of staff, your turnover rate, average salary and you will see what it is costing you just to maintain your workforce.

The direct costs are staggering.  But the true cost of turnover is more than money. In addition to the direct cost to agencies, there is a significant implication for the individual being supported as well as the broader company morale.

Direct cost to the organization to replace an employee is 21% of their annual salary and benefits – an average of $5,000 per person.  These costs include recruiting, screening, training, and excess overtime to provide gap coverage. For an organization with 250 staff, a 50% turnover is a crushing $625,000.  Over 6% of the organization’s operating budget goes into employee replacement every year. This is money that could otherwise go to raising wages and benefits; improving care and supporting the mission.   

Morale, manager burn out, and lost opportunity costs

A much more difficult cost to analyze is the impact on managers and leaders who become exhausted with the pressures of high turnover.  Experts believe this cost is real and it can equal or exceed the direct financial cost of turnover of 21%!  Managers who must constantly be recruiting and covering shifts struggle to maintain the connection to the “WHY” of what they and staff do to provide great services to the people they support. Opportunities for innovation, new program models and services get lost in the shuffle to improve the experience for everybody. The burn out of leaders leaves them simply too tired to be the creative, responsive, and proactive leaders needed for ongoing success. In addition, high turnover leads to the lost opportunity costs for the organization to grow in its mission, meet the needs of current people supported and respond to new market opportunities.

Cost to people supported

A significant and often overlooked cost of turnover is what it means to people being supported by the organization.  The lack of sustained relationships with people supported, their well-being can lead to a sense of being abandoned.  When our primary concern is coverage, attention to the individual, their personal needs, development and happiness become secondary.  While the results to people are largely anecdotal, that does not make the impact any less real to people supported and their families.   The connection between client satisfaction, mental health and employee retention are outcomes that should be measured and improved.

All three of these issues have a devastating impact on the safety net of services to individuals with IDD that is already stretched too thin.

At Quillo, we decided to change that! We believe we need to disrupt our thinking, shifting from a primary focus on skills, compliance, health, safety and billing to building better relationships and better lives of our staff as well as those we support. It can be done, and in doing so, raise the wages and benefits of those very same staff.

I hope to hear from you!

John Dickerson
CEO/Founder Quillo

Looking for more? Complete the form, and we'll send you Quillo's premium content, "Down to the Penny: Supporting the Financial Wellness of Your Staff."

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.