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Employee churn in afterschool care: An evaluation study of manager influences on employee retention and turnover


This study examined the status of field employee turnover at a national afterschool program provider in relation to its turnover improvement goal and assessed the knowledge, skills, motivation, and organizational influences of those with the greatest impact on retention and turnover - frontline Area Managers (AMs) who directly supervise afterschool staff. Clark and Estes’ (2008) gap analysis served as the general conceptual and methodological framework for the study. A mixed methods convergent parallel study was conducted using document analysis, surveys, interviews, and observations. Document analysis revealed high employee turnover in the school year of study (62%), far surpassing industry norms and prior year performance. However, analysis also found high employee retention (74%), which can coexist with high turnover when most staff are retained, but a smaller segment repeatedly churns over the same period. Specifically, recurring turnover among 37% of the organization’s field employee roles was found to be the source of its high turnover rate, while 63% of roles remained filled and therefore stable across the school year. Gap analysis of quantitative and qualitative survey results triangulated with interview and observation data illuminated barriers to AM success with retention and turnover. Barriers included limited knowledge of factors related to turnover, perception of minimal organizational focus on and resources for retention, significant external locus of control over turnover, and lack of ownership and accountability for turnover. The implications of these findings signal the risk of continued high turnover, where AMs could remain disempowered due to lack of critical knowledge, skills, motivation, and organizational resources for retention. The study concludes with recommendations for context-specific solutions grounded in literature and in the New World Kirkpatrick Model (Kirkpatrick & Kirkpatrick, 2016), as well as an integrated implementation and evaluation plan, strengths and weaknesses of the study, limitations and delimitations, and recommendations for future study. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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