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Staff Turnover

Staff Turnover

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Published by InterAction

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Published by: InterAction on Nov 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/03/2013

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HPN
Network Paper
About HPN

The Humanitarian Practice Network at the
Overseas Development Institute is an
independent forum where field workers,
managers and policymakers in the humanitarian
sector share information, analysis and experience.

The views and opinions expressed in HPN\u2019s
publications do not necessarily state or reflect
those of the Humanitarian Policy Group or the
Overseas Development Institute.

Overseas Development Institute
111 Westminster Bridge Road
London SE1 7JD
United Kingdom

Tel. +44 (0) 20 7922 0300
Fax. +44 (0) 20 7922 0399
HPN e-mail: hpn@odi.org.uk
HPN website: www.odihpn.org
Britain\u2019s leading independent
think-tankon international development
andhumanitarian issues
Commissioned and published by the Humanitarian Practice Network at ODI
Number 55
June 2006
Humanitarian Practice Network
Managed by
Humanitarian Policy Group
David Loquercio, Mark Hammersley and
Ben Emmens

Understanding and
addressing staff
turnover in
humanitarian agencies

In brief

\u2022 Staff turnover has become a major
concern for humanitarian agencies.
Unplanned staff turnover is problematic

and expensive, affecting not only learning

and efficiency, but also the capacity of
agencies to respond to new emergencies,
or even sometimes just to continue
existing programmes.

\u2022 While much discussed, no one has
attempted an in-depth study offering a
detailed consideration of the causes and
consequences of staff turnover in the
humanitarian sector. This paper aims to

fill this gap by providing support and ideas

for further action. It discusses the causes
of staff turnover, outlines the key elements
of a strategy to retain staff and describes
what agencies can do to manage the
consequences of staff turnover.

\u2022 A number of factors influence staff
turnover. Some are outside of agencies\u2019
control. However, this paper argues that
agencies should accept that they have a
responsibility for the current situation, and

could do a lot more to improve it. Addressing

the issue will mean an acknowledgement of
problems by senior management, and a
commitment to invest time, support and
funding in understanding the causes,
developing solutions and implementing them.

Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN)

Overseas Development Institute
111 Westminster Bridge Road
London, SE1 7JD
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7922 0331/74
Fax: +44 (0)20 7922 0399
Email: hpn@odi.org.uk
Website: www.odihpn.org

Printed and bound in the UK
ISBN: 0 85003 803 0
Price per copy: \u00a34.00 (excluding postage and packing).
\u00a9 Overseas Development Institute, London, 2006.

Photocopies of all or part of this publication may be made providing that the source is acknowledged. Requests for the commercial reproduction of HPN material should be directed to the ODI as copyright holders. The Network Coordinator would appreciate receiving details of the use of any of this material in training, research or programme design, implementation or evaluation.

About the author

David Loquercio has worked for several years as a delegate with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Over the past year, he has carried out research on turnover and staff capacity, first for an MSc dissertation at the University of Manchester, UK, then with the Emergency Capacity Building Project. His email address is dloquercio@yahoo.com.

Mark Hammersley is Staff Capacity Initiative Manager with the Emergency Capacity Building Project. His email
address is mark.hammersley@ecbproject.org.

Ben Emmens is Human Resources Services Manager at People In Aid. He has more than ten years\u2019 experience in international HR and general management in both the humanitarian world and the private sector. His email address is ben@peopleinaid.org.

Understanding and addressing staff turnover
Figure 6: Influence of career management on decision to leave (ICRC survey)
8
Figure 7: Consequences of staff turnover
9
Figure 8: Key issues and processes in addressing staff turnover
12
Figure 9: People management
16
Figure 10: Managing the consequences of staff turnover
19
Figure 11: Increasing levels of staff loyalty
26
Figure 12: A framework for action
26
Table 1: Turnover at a glance
3
Table 2: Learning needs just before a field assignment
22
ii

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