Your Guide on How to Calculate Employee Retention Rate

Your employee retention rate affects your business’s bottom line & productivity. Learn how to calculate & improve it.

February 7, 2023
Press the button to generate random icebreaker questions.
There are 300 more icebreaker questions at the bottom of the article
How would you describe your job to a five year old?
What season would you be?
What is a weird food you have tried? Would you eat it again?
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Would you go in the mother-ship with aliens if they landed on Earth tomorrow?
What is your favorite season?
Do prefer working from home or the office?
What is your earliest memory of this job?
What is the best thing you have bought so far this year?
What is the earliest book you remember?
If you had to move to another country, which one would you choose?
You are the best criminal mastermind in the world. What crime would you commit if you knew you would get away with it?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
What was the last thing you ate?
What person from history would you add to Mount Rushmore?
What is a weird fact you know?
What is your favorite part of working from home?
Were the Spice Girls a good team?
Imagine you can instantly learn any language. Which would you choose?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Which fictional team is the best team of all time?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
What do you usually eat for a quick lunch?
What simple food will you never eat?
Show us the weirdest thing you have in the room with you right now.
Would you rather stay at a hotel or an AirBNB?
What is your favorite movie genre to watch?
Are you more productive in the morning or at night?
Who is someone in your community that makes a difference?
Who was your most unique pet?
Choose one famous person from history you want on your team during a zombie apocalypse.
What is a good way to give back to the community?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
Is Hugh Grant funny?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Would you want to have an imaginary friend today? Did you have one as a child?
What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life?
What is the best super power?
What is your New Years resolution?
You can only eat one food again for the rest of your life. What is it?
What is the best work holiday?
What is the first gift you remember receiving?
Would you rather join Metallica or Backstreet Boys?
What is the best example of a community you have seen?
What is an easy way to do something nice for someone?
Show us your phone background and tell the story behind why you picked this image.
What was your first job?
Pick any band to play at your funeral.
If you could have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what would you pick?
Which superpower would you give to your arch enemy?
What is the most obscure superpower you would want?
What emoji best describes how you are feeling right now?
If you could live in any country, which country would you pick?
Would you rather live in a city or a town?
What is your favorite holiday?
What is something you accomplished as part of a team?
What is your standard office lunch?
What is your most used phone app?
What is your favorite season?
Have you ever won something as a team?
Imagine you are a professional baseball player. What is your introduction song?
Beach holiday or ski trip?
Have you ever been to a funny comedy show?
Would you rather live at the North Pole or the South Pole?
What is your favorite song to sing?
If you could live in any state, which state would you pick?
Imagine you could teleport anywhere. Where would you go right now?
What is the most unusual job you have heard of?
What was the last thing you ate?
You can visit any fictional time or place. Which would you pick?
What do your family and friends think you do all day?
What movie do you wish you could watch again for the first time?
Show us your most-used emoji.
What was the most unique style or fashion trend you ever embraced?
What movie defined your generation?
You are stranded on a remote desert island. Are you alone or with your worst enemy?
What is your favorite knock-knock joke?
Have you ever told someone Santa is not real?
Do you know how to speak more than one language?
On a scale of 1 – 10, how much of a team player are you?
What is your #1 recommendation in this city?
What is your favorite holiday?
What bucket list item do you most want to check off in the next six months?
What is your favorite mythical creature?
What was the first way you made money?
If you could be great at any Olympic sport, which would it be?
Which song could you listen to over and over again?
When did you start liking/hating mushrooms?
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
Do you take your PTO all at one time, or another way?
Which show do you remember most from your childhood?
Which beverage goes best with pizza?
Would you want to have a personal assistant follow you around everywhere and do what you asked of them?
Have you ever met your idol?
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
What is your hobby?
When you are alone in the car, what volume is the music at?
Imagine you no longer have to work. How would you spend a Tuesday?
What is your favorite type of sandwich?

Losing employees comes with a myriad of problems. Not only has your competition gained a new talent with an in-depth knowledge of your business model, but you’re also losing money in recruitment expenses and reduced productivity, especially when they’re your most productive employees.

In these cases, checking how quickly your employees are leaving (your turnover rate) and why they left (exit interviews) is normal. But, these are reactive measures that address the issue after the fact. 

A company needs to be proactive to compete in any industry successfully. Therefore, it's better to address the problems that send employees packing before they even leave the building. 

This is where your employee retention rate comes in.

Checking your employee retention rates can help you identify likely problem areas and take steps to address them. It also helps you know whether your current retention strategies are effective.

What is a Retention Rate?

Employee retention rate is the percentage of people who remain with your company during a specified time period. It’s usually calculated yearly or quarterly. However, you can use any length of time you wish.

Your retention rate is more than just numbers. It compares how many workers worked for your firm at the beginning of the period to how many of those initial employees remain at the conclusion of the specified term. The retention rate helps you know how employees feel about your business and how you can improve negative sentiment.

How to Calculate Employee Retention Rate?

You will need two significant numbers to calculate your employee retention rate.

  • Number of employees at the beginning of a given period
  • Remaining number of employees at the end of the same given period

Once you know these figures, follow the formula below:

(Remaining employees during the specified period/ Number of employees at the start of the same period) x 100

Let’s calculate with examples and varying time lengths. 

Example 1

A brewery has 129 employees at the beginning of the year. And at the end of the year, only 87 employees remained.

Starting number of employees: 129

Remaining number: 87

Using the retention rate formula: (87/129) x 100

Retention rate: 67.4% (for that fiscal year)

Example 2

Your marketing agency had 34 employees on April 1st and 29 employees on June 30th. Calculate the retention rate within this period.

Starting number of employees: 34

Remaining number: 29

Using the retention rate formula: (29/34) x 100

Retention rate: 85.2% (for April 1st - June 30th)

Is Retention Rate the Same as Turnover Rate?

No, The employee turnover rate is the percentage of employee exits over a specific time period. On the other hand, the retention rate is the percentage of employees that stay. The formula for calculating turnover is:

(Number of employee exits during the set period / Total average of employees during the set period) x 100

The retention rate for your business is often the inverse of the turnover rate. For instance, if your employee retention rate is 97%, then your turnover rate would be the remaining 3%.

But, this isn’t always the case and is not entirely accurate. Let’s show you why.


You had 30 employees at the start of a month, they all left, and you hired 30 more. 

Using only the retention rate (30/30) x 100, you might be tricked into thinking you have a 100% retention rate. But your turnover rate will reveal that you’re churning through employees like butter. It’ll be a whopping 100% too!

Clearly, predicting or assuming your turnover rate from your retention rate is flawed. Instead, calculate them separately to give you a better picture of your employee metrics.

What is a Good Employee Retention Rate?

There’s a consensus that your employee retention rate should be 90%. 

However, this may be an inaccurate number, especially if you work in the retail, restaurant, or hospitality industry. These industries record lower retention rates and high turnovers because of the seasonality of their business.

Good employee retention rates are subjective and vary by industry.

You can check gauge how good your retention strategies are by comparing your business turnover rate with the industry average on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics site. Always strive to make your turnover rate lower than the industry standard. 

Why Measure Employee Retention?

The LinkedIn U.S. Workforce Confidence Index (WCI) revealed that 17% of Americans planned to leave their company in 2022. Not an alarming number, is it?

Well, it becomes one when you factor in the cost of replacement. Which, according to Gallup, is half to two times an employee’s annual salary.

Not only are you losing money, but you’re also losing productivity and valuable knowledge. Long-term employees have a wealth of expertise that they’ve built up over time. These employees have cordial relationships with customers, and may even be the reason that client keeps coming back. Losing them might mean losing years of cultivated customer experience.

Low employee retention also affects productivity and morale. When your employees have to adapt to new people while bidding their old friends goodbye, it affects their work. They may lose motivation and avoid engaging in company initiatives.

Eventually, they’ll find their way out too.

Increased employee retention also exposes you to government benefits and relief like the Employee Retention Credit initiative.

How Do You Improve Your Employee Retention Rate?

To retain your top performers, it is critical that you create a workplace where employees are appreciated, empowered, and have room to grow.

A recent Pew Research Center survey found that low pay (63%), lack of advancement opportunities (63%), and disrespect at work (57%), were the top reasons why Americans quit their jobs in 2021. The survey also found that rigid work hours (45%) and poor benefits (43%), also contributed to this mass exit.

In other words, to increase your employee retention rate, you should:

  1. Hire well

Take your time with your hiring process. Check if your intended candidate fits your workplace culture and determine what they expect from you. Also, share your expectations from the onset. 

  1. Offer good remuneration and benefits 

When you pay your employees well, you show your appreciation for their work. Giving adequate remuneration inspires loyalty and promotes employee engagement. In addition, perks and benefits like paid time off, robust health insurance, mental health resources, and hybrid work help keep your employees devoted to their work and to your brand.

  1. Create a comprehensive onboarding process

Your onboarding process is your chance to give a good impression of your workplace culture. It should ease your employees into the job, instead of dumping them into chaos. Use this time to help them forge workplace relations and a roadmap for their future in your company.

  1. Recognize and engage your employees

Your employees want to know how they’re contributing to business growth. They need to feel valued. You can fulfill this need through rewards and employee recognition programs like the employee of the month initiative. 

Recognition also takes the form of feedback. Listening to your employees and acting on their feedback is a great way to show that you care. Feedback could come as performance reviews, surveys, and one-on-ones. You can also leverage gamified employee engagement strategies to show how much your employees matter.

  1. Provide growth and development opportunities

Employees will leave if you cannot guarantee their growth at your company. A stagnated workplace breeds employee dissatisfaction and is a core driver of turnover rates. By implementing upskilling and coaching programs, you’re telling your employees that they have a future with you. Other developmental opportunities include promotions, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

Retain Your Talent With Assembly

Good retention rates do not happen with the wave of a magic wand. They come from listening to your employees before they leave, and tweaking your existing workplace practices that cause dissatisfaction. 

This doesn’t mean exit interviews are irrelevant. On the contrary, they help us determine if our tweaks worked and what we need to change.

The key takeaway is: Listen. And don’t just listen, act.

And we can help with both. Assembly offers organizations efficient methods to enhance productivity, boost employee engagement, and implement meaningful recognition programs, to increase employee happiness. We also help you gauge employee sentiment and create customized feedback processes for your business.

Chat with an expert today to see how we can improve your employee retention rates.

Browse our Free Employee Recognition Guide

Get the foundational knowledge on creating an employee recognition program that boosts employee engagement and helps them feel valued.

Explore Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Assembly SOC 2 compliant?

Yes, at Assembly, security is a top priority. Each quarter, we have ongoing security work that is everyone’s responsibility. While we maintain a strong security posture, it was important for us to prove to our customers that we do everything we claim to do. This led us to pursue a SOC 2 Type II report that would provide evidence of our compliance with industry gold-standard security practice.

What's the ROI for employee recognition?

There is study after study showing that employee recognition leads to increased engagement. This in return creates an environment where employees are happier and more motivated which increase productivity and reduces voluntary turnover significantly. In order to filled critical roles, companies tend to spend nearly twice the value of an annual salary. Assembly is an investment in your employees that supports your bottom line.

Does Assembly offer longer-term contracts?

Yes, we will offer contracts for companies with longer-term agreements to help larger customers have more certainty around future costs.

The minimum agreement term is a 12-month subscription.

Does Assembly offer onboarding support?

We do and for FREE! Any new customer needing further support to get started with Assembly to ensure you're set up for success can request custom onboarding support. Improving your employee experience is about much more than just using our amazing software; it’s about transforming your business to create a workplace that people love. That’s much easier to do with the personal support and advice from our passionate people experts.

Is there a free version of Assembly?

Yes. We offer a completely free plan for up to 50 team members. This plan is intended for teams or organizations that are looking to get started with an employee engagement tool. Keep in mind, this plan is limited in features.

All customers can open an Assembly account for free and get started without a credit card. Then you can change plans as necessary.

How much do rewards cost?

At the time of redemption (when your employees exchange their points for a paid reward) you'll pay face value. If a reward is a $10 Amazon gift card, your cost will be $10. All paid rewards are billed for on a monthly basis.

The good news is that you don't have to pay for rewards upfront because we only charge you when points are redeemed, not when they're earned.

Does Assembly offer discounts?

We offer discounts or educational or charitable organizations. In order to secure a discount, you'll first need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

For all other organizations, we are willing to consider longer-term agreements in exchange for discounts. To set up annual plans or longer, you will need to book a demo with a customer support specialist.

How do I cancel my plan if needed?

If you're on a month to month plan, you can go here and cancel anytime. If you're having concerns or need help setting up your account for success, you can always book a demo with a customer support specialist.

If you're on a longer-term custom plan, you'll need to reach out to your customer support specialist to cancel your account or email us at

What customizations are available?

Great question! You can customize your core values to match your organization's to boost and track alignment. You can change your currency from the 🏆 emoji (our default) to any emoji of your choice. You can swap our logo for your own. You can also set up company culture rewards such as, "Lunch with the CEO," "Buy a book on us," and so much more!

Who can give or receive recognition?

While we recommend a peer to peer set up where anyone in your organization can give or receive recognition, you can set up Assembly however you want. If you need to limit the people who can give or receive recognition, that's perfectly fine and can be done from your Admin, here.

What integrations are available?

Assembly connects to the tools your employees use every day to offer an easy, seamless experience with minimal change management.  

Assembly has integrations with HCM/HRIS systems like ADP, Google, Office 365, and Slack. We also integrate with communication tools like Slack and Teams so you and your employees can access Assembly wherever they work now.

What's your average adoption rate?

That depends on the company's permissions set up. That said, over 90% of the employees on Assembly's platform are recognized on a monthly basis. That means nearly every employee across all of our customers are receiving regular recognition from their peers, managers, or leadership. We're extremely proud of this.

Must rewards be set up to use Assembly?

They are not required. You can use Assembly without having rewards set up. However, we don't recommend it if you intend to have a high adoption and usage rate. You can always keep the costs down by offering internal culture rewards that are fulfilled by you internally.

Are points required to use Assembly?

No, you can remove allowances from anyone or everyone. It's up to you but we do recommend using points whether they're worth a real dollar value or not. Companies that use points have a much higher engagement rate even if those points don't exchange for real dollars.

Could find the answer you are looking for?

Please schedule time with an expert and we will help you to get all your questions answered