Through the years I have heard senior leaders make passing comments about staff that have left their company. They say things like, “You know, now that he has left, I really don’t miss him”, or “She was good turnover, we were going to have to do something about her performance, I am glad she left.”

Hiring Leaders and CEO’s would tend to agree that there is probably two types of staff turnover. There is good turnover (those that we are glad they left on their own accord because they weren’t performing), and then there is, let’s call it, not so good turnover, those we didn’t want to leave our organisation because they are good performers.

Australia has a workforce of 12.5 million people, of whom 11.8 million are employed.  According to the research team at Morgans, a Wealth Management firm based in Brisbane, the normalised average churn rate (or employees leaving a job/turnover) in Australia is around 16%. (They highlighted that in more buoyant times the turnover rate can lift to as high as 22 %.)

Some organisations have great stability with little to no turnover, while others, it is almost assured will have a higher than average rate. For example, hospitality organisations that rely on a transient workforce, or certain types of call centres that can’t provide an easy career path can often experience 20% plus turnover.

Some months ago we were talking to a medium sized organisation whose leaders were anecdotally commenting on how there were performance gaps in their workforce and they were not getting the best out of their staff. They had a fairly stable workforce which included some long term staff members.

The question was asked, “How many staff are on some form of a Performance Improvement Plan?” The resounding response, “None”.

No one was being performance managed. However, it seemed apparent there may have been staff employed there that leaders clearly felt they shouldn’t be there. Based on the size of the organisation you could say that statistically speaking a number of staff should have been involved with some sort of performance management.

I would struggle to find any statistical proof, but I suspect there are a lot of reasons for the turnover rate being what it is other than staff being properly managed, and managed out of organisations because they were under performing.