Turnover destination as a factor in the relationship between employee performance and turnover in South Africa

Poonan, Ilona
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This dissertation provides further insight into the well-researched question of whether and how job performance has an impact on employee turnover. Moreover, this study takes this relationship one step further by investigating the less researched area of turnover destinations, specifically whether turnover destination may impact the performance - turnover relationship. All of these relationships are studied in the South African business context, thereby providing an understanding of these constructs from a perspective that has been less researched in the literature. The research question that this study aims to answer is ‘does employee turnover to alternate destinations differ by performance’. The initial hypotheses proposed compare the relationship between job performance and employee turnover with the subsequent hypotheses looking at the impact of performance on different external turnover destinations. The destinations considered in this study concern moving to the same job in a different organisation, a different job in a different organisation and finally, leaving the workforce. The study follows a quantitative paradigm and uses a combination of archival records and a survey method to gather the data. A convenience sampling method was adopted and four organisations, all located in the Johannesburg region, were selected to participate in the study, based on accessibility to information. The final sample, which included stayers that were purposefully matched to leavers based on a number of criteria, consisted of 298 respondents. All respondents were white collar workers and professionals. 2 Various statistical techniques were employed to investigate the research question and the hypotheses that were put forward. Correlations, comparisons of means tests (ANOVA’s and t-tests) and multiple logistic regressions were the main statistical techniques that were adopted in this study. The results produced are in line with the findings of many other studies and show firstly that job performance does impact employee turnover such that higher performance levels are associated with lower levels of turnover. Furthermore, evidence was found to suggest that low performance made the destination choice of leaving the workforce or moving to a different job in a different organisation more likely. No significant results were found in respect of the relationship between job performance and the destination category of moving to the same job in a different organisation. The implications of such findings has an impact on the way in which businesses today manage and retain the high performing individuals in their organisations. With high performers being more likely to leave an organisation, managers need to increase the effort that they make to retain key employees that are pivotal in an organisation’s success. Furthermore, organisations need to implement initiatives that aim to manage the performance of poor performing individuals that are not contributing at an acceptable level.
Employee turnover, Job performance, South Africa, Turnover destinations