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The Most Accurate Predictor of Employee Turnover

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Adam Grant’s book, “Originals” starts with a discussion of the most accurate predictor of employee turnover. It is probably not what you think.


I started reading Adam grants book, "Originals," and it starts over the very engaging story. It is a story about employee turnover in call centers. Grant says that in doing research for this, he was trying to figure out why turnover exists and what was possible to predict turnover and who the most likely people would be to turnover. They measured all sorts of statistics.

The classic HR theory is sort of like a mutual fund except they believe that past performance IS a predictor of future behaviors. The classic HR belief is that if this person has changed jobs a bunch of times in the past, they will change jobs a bunch of times in the future. However, in call centers and other places, Grant points out that the statistics did not warrant that conclusion.

Instead he found something very interesting. Believe it or not, what he found is that the browser used to upload the resume was the most accurate predictor of how soon a person might leave. Interesting! Browser type. Which browser was the most conclusive ones? Safari. Internet Explorer. People who use those browsers were more likely to turnover quickly than those who used the Chrome or Firefox.

Now I know some of you are going to say, "Well, what about the people who had the bad job histories?" Even with bad job histories, people who use the particular browser type more more (or less) likely to change jobs. As a matter of fact, he points out that with people that he was measuring, he found that people who had been job histories stayed longer if they happen to use Chrome or Firefox.

It begs the question, what is it about the browser type that results in people staying? What he concluded was that using a default browser (this is my choice of terms) is indicative of "lazy thinking." Default mode. People who use Chrome or Firefox have to consciously take action to improve their circumstances whereas the IE or Safari user doesn't.

He encourages you to think in terms that might be a little bit different than what you've done up until this point to think, not just in terms of a past behavior, but some other indicator to accurately determine whether this person will actually turn over. As he wrote, his statistics did not indicate any correlation between past behavior and future behavior. The correlation he found was browser type.

Where have you been misreading? Where have you been thinking that it is all about what they have done previously, making assumptions without using valid data.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves life coaching, as well as executive job search coaching and business life coaching. He is the host of “Job Search Radio,” “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.”

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching from me?  Email me at and put the word, “Coaching” in the subject line.

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

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