Publication Date



[Excerpt] Key Findings:

  • Traditional turnover ratios–the number of employees leaving versus the total number in a unit—may not accurately describe how employee departures affect business unit performance.
  • Traditional measures of turnover focus primarily on the quantity of employee exits, but fail to measure important qualities of turnover events.
  • Some turnover scenarios tend to be more damaging than others, such as if a unit loses proficient workers, loses workers all at once, gains relatively less proficient workers, or loses workers from core functions rather than peripheral ones.
  • To effectively link turnover to performance, metrics should account for when employees leave and from which positions, and accurately reflect the capabilities of exiting, remaining, and entering employees.
  • The authors propose a new measure of “capacity” that targets both the quantity and qualities of turnover, allowing practitioners to improve the information value of attrition-related metrics.


Recommended Citation
Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies. (2012, February). An employment systems approach to turnover: Human resources practices, quits, dismissals, and performance (CAHRS ResearchLink No. 8). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, ILR School.