New Horizons in Management series
Edited by George Saridakis and Cary L. Cooper
Chapter 5: Analysing, monitoring and costing labour turnover
Labour turnover is a phenomenon which has been studied over the years by economists, psychologists, sociologists and human resources (HR) professionals (Gardener, 1982; Mobley, 1983; Gregg and Wadsworth, 1995; Bevan et al., 1997; Phillips, 1990). At first sight, its nature, causes and consequences seem straightforward, with concomitantly simple prescriptions for keeping it under control. Yet, as with so many phenomena which involve human decision-making, the laws of the labour market, organizational culture, rewards and the caprice of human motivation in such complex and highly individual interplay, it is now clear that the wide variety of drivers of labour turnover require much more nuanced and tailored strategies to be deployed if organizations are to exercise any sustained control over it. It is possible to look at any workforce as a series of ‘stocks’ and ‘flows’. The ‘stocks’ – the cohorts of workers organized in teams, or defined by their pay-band or their grade or their function – each have ‘flows’ into, within and out of them. These can be recruits, promotes, lateral transfers, secondees and, crucially, leavers. Of all of the ‘flows’, leavers are the only group where the organization has only minimal influence over the number, identity and timing of the leaving decision.
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