It’s no secret that workplace benefits like paid sick days and paid family leave reduce turnover, boost morale and improve workplace productivity. Not only do these benefits also come at a low financial cost to businesses, but employers who offer them experience a significant economic boost from improved employee productivity and reduced spread of illness.

But human resource managers may find workplace benefits are economically enticing for a different reason:

In the world of business, turnover is both a timely and a timeless concern. Managers are always looking for ways to reduce attrition, because the cost of seeking, hiring, training and assimilating new employees is so high. One recent study determined that organizations lose 17 percent of their pre-tax income to employee withdrawal (a category that includes turnover as well as absence, lateness and withheld effort). Another estimated that the departure of a single experienced professional costs a management and consulting firm more than $1 million.

But the need to control turnover is about to become even more acute, as the baby boomers begin to retire. The American economy is now bracing for what Wendy Harman, 06, a visiting assistant professor of business at UW Bothell, has called “the largest brain drain the world has ever experienced.”

Could improved workplace benefits be the answer? Read more from UW’s Columns magazine: Take This Job and Love It

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