[IPAC-List] calculating turnover

mhammer at 295.ca mhammer at 295.ca
Mon Oct 9 20:47:13 EDT 2017

What is the particular measurement objective here?  Is the desired index
for the purposes of simply calculating annual organizational staffing
needs?  Is it to determine where there are retention issues?

I would think that the manner of calculating both denominator AND
numerator would depend somewhat on the purpose of the analysis.  For
instance,one may wish to consider something a departure ONLY if the
incumbent leaves the organization entirely, but not if they simply move
from one unit to another.

Mark Hammer

> I'm exploring different ways of calculating turnover and I'm puzzled by
the typical approaches to defining the denominator. I'm starting with
> assumption that turnover is about what proportion of employees have left
the organization (or job, region, etc.). To arrive at that, it seems to
> that you need to know the number of employees that left the organization
in a given period of time, which should then be compared to the number
> employees who could have left the organization in that same time period.
Almost every recommendation or practice out there, however, includes a
denominator that is a) some form of headcounts and b) for a point in
> or multiple points in time. The most common is to create an average of
> number of employees at the beginning of the period and the number of
employees at the end of the period. I see two limitations to this
> approach: 1) counting the number of employees only gets at the number of
filled positions, regardless of who occupies them and b) data for a
> in time shouldn't substitute for data for a time period. Static
> don't represent the total number of people that could have left in a
> period. If you have 100 employees at the beginning of the year and 100
> the end of the year, the typical formula says the denominator is 100. If
50 left, the turnover rate is 50%. But if 50 left and have been
> then the total number that could have left is actually 150 (the 100 that
started and the 50 more that were hired and are still there), which is
really just a turnover rate of 30%. The only number that seems like a
truly accurate denominator would be the number of employees at the
beginning of the time period plus any new hires in the time period. The
only challenge I see with this approach is that there is a ceiling of
100%, which makes sense on the one hand (you shouldn't have more people
leaving than there are people) but can be misleading on the other, since
an annual rate of 100% turnover could have been reached in the first
quarter. To me, the solution is to qualify the number just like
> the time period within which 100% is reached.
> So, given the divide between the common practice and my logic, can folks
help me bridge the gap? What am I missing?
> Thanks in advance,
> Megan Paul
> Megan E. Paul, Ph.D.
> Research Assistant Professor
> University of Nebraska–Lincoln
> Center on Children, Families, and the Law
> 206 S. 13th Street, Suite 1000
> Lincoln, NE 68588-0227
> (402) 472-9812 Office
> (402) 472-8412 Fax
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