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January 18, 2012

Turnover: HR Metrics – How and What to Measure

It seems that January is the time for measurements, especially if you are like many of us who begin an exercise regimen in hopes of reducing our waistline measurement (my personal goal), or perhaps increasing our bicep measurement (if you are like my 16-year old son).  The world of HR is no different.  We often begin the year by defining our goals and objectives.  The last few years, there has been increased focus on measuring the value of HR.  Is HR merely overhead, or can our goals and objectives be measured and considered an integral piece providing input to the strategic direction of our organization?

I like to think the latter is true.  Although many of the processes and services we deliver are difficult to measure, I believe there are many areas that can be evaluated and assigned a quantitative value.  That is true in the area of turnover.  As our 1st quarter HR theme is turnover, we will be looking at it from various perspectives, building on what Olivia posted earlier this month relating to the costs and consequences of turnover.

HR metrics should be looked at as opportunities to provide valuable decision making data, assess internal controls, and improve performance.  However, metrics should be looked at as more than data.  The real value arrives when we can take the quantitative data and look at it from a qualitative perspective.   A simple way to look at the difference is as follows:

  • Quantitative – measures how much there is and usable for simple factors; should be compared to a “standard”
  • Qualitative – tells you what you are measuring and is reflective of actual workplace behavior

Olivia’s blog provided a calculation for turnover rate, which is an example of a quantitative metric:

  •  Dividing the number of terminations by the total employee census

The qualitative metric regarding turnover would take this data and complete the following assessment:

  •  Look at who left and why, digging into additional information such as what departments/managers had turnover, was it new hires or long-term employees, etc.

What are some other HR metrics that one might want to include when assessing turnover?  We will be expanding on this topic in our monthly whitepaper.  I believe you will be surprised at some of the new metrics that are emerging in the area of HR.  I hope you already receive our whitepapers, or if not you can sign up by clicking .   Remember they are free (which results in a quantitative metric of $0)!


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