What Is Attrition?


attrition people in circle

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Filed under - Definitions,

Attrition is the rate at which members of staff voluntarily leave the workforce over a given period of time. It is also known as ‘staff turnover’, or ‘staff churn’, although in the contact centre industry ‘churn’ tends to refer to the flow of customers rather than staff.

How to Calculate Attrition Rate

The equation for attrition often catches contact centre professionals and BPO out, although it seems relatively straightforward.

To calculate attrition you need to divide the number of employees that left during the period by the average number of employees for the period, then multiply this figure by 100 to give you the percentage attrition rate.  This attrition formula is shown below:

A picture of the formula for attrition

The part that catches people out is that you must divide the number of employees that left by the average number of employees for the period instead of the total number of employees for the period.

The figure can be reached by taking the starting number of employees for the period, adding that to the finishing number of employees for the period, and dividing the result by two. For most, the period is a year.

So, for a company that began a year with 6,500 employees and ended the year with 6,380 employees, the calculation for average employees would be (6,500+6,380) / 2 = 6,440.

However, while the period used in the calculation may be one year, it doesn’t mean that attrition rate is a metric that should be tracked only once a year. Instead, according to Dougie Cameron, Director of addzest consulting, it is better to calculate the metric on a rolling, week-by-week basis.

Published On: 26th May 2022
Read more about - Definitions,


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