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What is the definition of bad turnover?

Oct 17, 2022 | News

By Kendra Prospero

I’m deeply focused on being the model for how to do culture right because I figure if I can do it, you can do it, too. As a business owner, I know it’s impossible to avoid turnover altogether, and I want to discuss it with you.

What is good turnover and what is bad turnover? Let’s wrestle with these questions. I would love for you to engage with me and debate me on this because I think it’s complicated. Here are some thoughts: I think bad turnover is defined by a situation where you lose somebody that you did not want to lose and you can’t explain why they left. If you have people who are ghosting you or are saying things like “it was me, it wasn’t you” probably it was “you”, and to me, this is bad turnover.

Here are other examples of a bad hire:

1. Values-misalignment: When I’ve had to fire somebody within the first few months of their employment with me because they weren’t a fit. It’s a bad hire because I should have caught that in an interview. You’ll know you have one of these because they are preventing other teammates from thriving.

2. I screwed up onboarding: A bad hire happens when I’ve had to fire somebody because they can’t live up to my expectations. Probably something I could have done differently while onboarding them.

3. I didn’t manage them well as they were learning: If I’ve lost somebody because they feel inadequate at the job, it probably means that I didn’t use the right style of management to help them build their confidence.

4. They can’t do the job: If they ultimately don’t have the ability to do the job, I screwed this up because I should have been able to catch this during the interview. I should have asked better questions to their references or should have gone deeper around their skills while interviewing. You’ll know you have this because you’ll find yourself tolerating them.

Then there’s turnover where you have somebody that you really loved, and you didn’t want to lose them, but lost them because they moved onto a better job. I’m realizing that none of us have jobs where people are going to stay forever and ever. If we think that way, we’ve set ourselves up for complete disappointment whenever someone quits. I assume that people are here for a period of time. Our jobs are a stepping stone in their career – maybe we want it to be as long as a bridge – but we should count on our employees staying for a certain period of time. Regardless of when they leave, we’re going to be sad. If they leave for a better job – a job where they have grown so much in our organizations that they’re able to move on to something that is a huge promotion for them – shouldn’t we logically just pat ourselves on the back and say “that’s awesome!” Why should we be heartbroken by somebody moving on to something better?

On that note:

The honest truth is that I have two announcements to make – we had to say good-bye to two teammates this month. Debi Richards, our longtime office manager and Julie Rosekrans, our longtime resume writer, recruiter, and Manager of Career Services, found better jobs! Both of them are moving onto jobs where they have more responsibility. We couldn’t be happier for them but we will miss them!

Some other musings:

On parenting: I don’t know about you but I feel like my next goal in parenting is to make sure my kids launch. Of course, I’m going to miss them when they’re gone, but I do hope that they launch. I hope they don’t feel like they need to stay in my basement. I hope I feel like they have found a life beyond me. I hope they finally live near me like my stepchildren do and my grandchildren and that they want to be a part of the community when they’re older, but please don’t live with me ever again.

As for reading, this week has been a week of fiction. I just finished “Sea of Tranquility” and it was a fantastic book. I recommend that you listen to it because it was really well-read by 4 actors.

And I had the privilege to attend the CEO Forum and heard John Wood speak. I’ve started his book called “Purpose, Incorporated”, and I’ve invited him to the Podcast – I want you all to hear his story. More on this later!


At Turning the Corner, we believe that meaningful work that we enjoy is one of life’s greatest rewards—it’s why we do what we do! Our mission is to end suffering in the workplace and empower businesses to thrive through various HR services and training opportunities.