20 Metrics in 20 Days- Day 17: High Performer Loss Rate

Day 17 in our series of 20 consecutive posts on HR metrics: High Performer Loss Rate


High Performer Loss Rate: The proportion of high-performing employees lost within a given period of time.


$latex {High\ Performer\ Loss\ Rate =\frac{Total\ \# \ High\ Performers\ Lost\ in\ period} {Total\ \#\ High\ Performers\ at\ period\ start}}&s=2$

Additional Considerations

It is difficult to gauge what an acceptable loss rate here would be, but one strategy for evaluation is to compare your loss rate for high performers to that of mid-level performers.

Make sure you also choose a reasonable period of time for your analyses. I would suggest looking at periods of a year and certainly nothing shorter than a quarter to avoid a mistaken focus on small, random fluctuations due to small sample sizes.

In addition to tracking high performer loss rate, you may also wish to track “high potential” loss rate.

Please note: “high potentials” are defined by their potential for future leadership positions, not just quality performance in their current role; the terms “high performer” and “high potential” are sometimes used interchangeably but they are not the same thing.

Why You Should Care

Tracking overall turnover is of course valuable, but tracking the rate at which you are losing your top performers can help clarify the picture.

A high rate of loss for this group signals deeper problems within your organization because those who can succeed elsewhere are choosing to do just that.

An organization that is losing a big chunk of its top performers is not long for this world.


  • As noted above, compare your loss rate for high performers with those in the middle. If your loss rate for high performers is higher than that of your middle group, it suggests you may have a particular problem for this population that needs to be addressed.
  • Break down your high performer loss rates by business area and hierarchy level. Are the loss rates comparable across the board or do you see particular areas that stand out?
  • As with engagement, talk to the leaders that seems to hold onto their best performers over time and figure out what they do differently. Every organization is unique so capitalizing on local knowledge is key.

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