Empowering contact center excellence for 30 years!

Turnover Rate


Jun 01, 2002

I am a manager of a small call center (60 agents) and we get asked regularly what our turnover rate is. Is there a standard way to calculate turnover in the call center industry? How do you calculate turnover in your call center? Do you calculate it monthly or yearly? and what is the formula you use? I was also wondering what is a "normal" turnover rate in a call center environment?. -- Genevieve


  • Posted at 12:00AM on Jul 1, 2002

    I have used several different methods but my preferred approach is a rolling, annualized turnover rate. At the end of each week of the month I look at my staffing numbers and average those numbers for a monthly average. I then total the attrition number for the month as well. I track this monthly on a rolling 12 month period (current 12 months). Dividing the total turnover number by the average number of monthly staff and, factoring that number with the number of months you are tracking, will provide the annualized turnover rate. I track turnover weekly, monthly and annually but I always compute it annualized. For instance, if my total turnover for the 3-month period of Jan-Mar is 10, and average monthly staff is 100, then my annualized turnover is 40% (10 / 100) X (12 / 3). Many use another method of simply looking at a month alone, dividing their turnover by their staff numbers at the end of the month, and multiplying by 12. Although that calculation will get you close, it will always be higher than your true annualized turnover rate.

    Please remind your leadership team that analyzing turnover is more than just reviewing numbers. Track the type of turnover. Consider categorizing turnover by supervisor, or internal/external, voluntary/involuntary, length of employment, etc. Also, instead of comparing your turnover with the industry, also compare it against your market and demographics. You may find that a ten percent annualized turnover in one market or industry may not be as spectacular as compared to another. Meaning, 10 percent may be fine compared to the entire call/contact center world but, if the call center across the street or one on the other side of the state is at 5 percent, you may view your results differently. -- Robert Mitchell

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Jul 1, 2002

    Our Firm uses the Benchmark Portal calculation for turnover which is the percentage derived from dividing: (Total number of agents leaving the call center) / (Total number of agents at the beginning of the period). Usually, the time period is one year. Also, total number of agents leaving includes voluntary, involuntary and internally transferred agents. However, there are times when you may want to back out transferred and/or terminated agents.

    Hope this information is helpful. Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions. -- Rebecca Oettinger, The Segal Company

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Jul 1, 2002

    Your turnover numbers tell an important story, so it's important to use the right approach to measure turnover in your center. To measure turnover accurately, calculate an annualized turnover rate. This annualized figure provides a consistent basis for comparison and trending. The calculation is as follows:

    Turnover = (# of agents exiting the job / avg. actual # of agents during the period) x (12 / # mos. in period)

    The average number of agents on staff during the month is often calculated by taking the average counts at the end of each week of the month. Alternatively, an average can be taken of the trained staff count at the beginning and end of the month.

    While this overall turnover rate is a useful number and a good starting point, break down the number further into internal (i.e., leave the call center to move into another department) and external (i.e., leave the organization entirely) turnover and voluntary (quit) and involuntary (fired or laid off) categories. Another useful breakdown would delve into turnover for 1st, 2nd or 3rd shift workers or full-time versus part-time employees.

    These breakdowns will provide the call center manager with more detailed, meaningful data to use in formulating an action plan to address the root causes of turnover. For example, a call center with 50% turnover may find that 40% of that turnover is contained within the 3rd shift team. This points the call center manager toward the true source of the problem (3rd shift) to focus his efforts toward uncovering problems or issues that may be contributing to turnover on that shift.

    In a recent ICMI study, 38% of respondents reported a 1-10% internal turnover rate per year, 23% reported between 11- 20% and 11% said theirs was between 21-30%. As for external turnover rates, 42% of call centers reported between 1-10% per year; 13% had an external attrition between 11-20% and 16% of respondents said theirs was as high as 21-30%.

    For further breakdown by industry, refer to the ICMI Agent Staffing and Retention Study Final Report.

  • Posted at 12:00AM on Dec 1, 2002

    After you calculate your annual turnover rate as shown on the other responses, it's good to know how soon and why you are losing your employees. I suggest you break it down into (a) how many left within the first 90 days of hiring; (b) 3 - 6 months; (c) 6 - 9 months; (d) 9 - 12 months; (e) 1 - 3 years; (f) 3 - 5 years; (g) over 5 years. Each of those time periods is a critical indicator of problems. If you are losing a majority within the first 90 days, then your selection criteria may be flawed. If, however, you are losing them after 1 - 3 years, then it may be time to review your compensation and or benefits package; it may be below the industry or local levels. So, breaking it down to each category can serve as your signal of where to look into your operations. -- Joe Catala, Park Place Entertainment

  • Steve Posted at 12:00AM on Jun 28, 2006

    Turnover is not properly calculated using the average number of employees. It is the number of people who left divided by the number who could have. To that end, it's: (terminations for the month) / (headcount at beginning of month + newhires). Here's a simple example about why averages don't work. You have one employee for the first three weeks of Feb. The last week you hire another employee, but the first one quits. Most of us would say that's 50% attrition. However, if you average the number of employees for the entire month by adding headcount at the beginning of the month to headcount at the end of the month and dividing by 2, your average headcount is (1+2)/2 = 1.5, and your attrition calculation is 1/1.5, or 67%. If you average the number of employees by week, your average number of employees is (1+1+1+2)/4, or 1.25, so your attrition calculation is 1/1.25 or 80%. Having said that, it should be comforting to know that it really doesn't matter as long as you're consistent. You're looking for trends, after all. -- Steve

  • Tarun Posted at 12:00AM on Jan 12, 2007

    But what happens when we actually have a ramp up and the number of new hires increases in a particular month? -- Tarun

Please sign in to contribute an answer. If you don't have an account you can register for free here.

Question Search

Need help with something specific? Search our entire QueueTips section to find it.

Can't find what you're looking for in a current QueueTips post? Submit a new post to us!