Talent Sourcing

What is The Difference Between Attrition And Turnover?

Published on May 1st, 2023

As a recruiter, you are tasked with managing the workforce of the company. Part of this job involves understanding the dynamics of attrition and turnover. These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Understanding the difference between them is essential to develop a better workforce management strategy. In this post, we'll discuss the definitions of attrition and turnover, their differences, and what you can do to manage each effectively.

What is Attrition?

Attrition refers to the natural and gradual reduction of the workforce due to retirement, resignation, or death. It is a relatively slow process that can happen over a period of years. The term is often used to describe the reduction of the workforce through voluntary means. For example, employees who are retiring, employees who leave for personal reasons like relocation or health issues, and employees who resign due to lack of job satisfaction.

What is Turnover?

On the other hand, turnover refers to the number of employees who leave the company in a given period. Unlike attrition, it is the result of both voluntary and involuntary reasons such as terminations, layoffs, and firings. Turnover is often associated with negative connotations as it is a symptom of a problem within the workplace that prompts employees to leave, such as low job satisfaction, poor management, and inadequate compensation.

The Differences Between Attrition and Turnover

The primary difference between attrition and turnover is the way it happens. Attrition refers to the gradual, voluntary departure of employees due to natural reasons. In contrast, turnover involves a sudden loss of employees, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and is often triggered by underlying problems within the organization. Attrition is predictable and can be planned, whereas turnover disrupts the workforce and can lead to unforeseen challenges.

How to Manage Attrition and Turnover

To manage attrition effectively, it is essential to anticipate the departure of employees and initiate measures to retain critical employees. You can offer retention bonuses, flexible work schedules, and opportunities for personal and professional development. On the other hand, to manage turnover, ensure your organization is providing a positive work environment, invest in employee engagement, offer competitive salaries and benefits, and implement an employee retention strategy.

Reducing employee turnover, also known as attrition, is a common objective for organizations seeking to maintain a stable and productive workforce. A key approach to achieving this is by addressing the root cause of the problem.

One effective strategy is to focus on sourcing the right individuals for the job. By automating the candidate sourcing process, companies can experience a significant decrease in attrition rates. EasySource, an automated talent sourcing tool available at HireQuotient, is designed to assist recruiters in identifying and engaging with suitable candidates. The tool incorporates ChatGPT, enabling recruiters to send highly personalized messages to potential candidates and discover talent that aligns with their organization's needs.

In essence, leveraging EasySource, accessible through the Chrome extension, can be a valuable asset for organizations grappling with high attrition rates.


Attrition and turnover are critical to the organization’s success as recruitment and retention play a vital role in the business’s growth and stability. Understanding the differences between them can help you develop a more effective workforce management strategy. Recognizing their causes and developing appropriate measures can help you reduce both and create a more stable and engaged workforce in your organization.



Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

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