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The effect of employee turnover on performance: a case study of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture.

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Employee turnover influences both employees and the performance of an organisation. When employee turnover occurs in an organisation, the remaining employees have to acquire new skills. Organisations endure the loss of certain skills that are not easy to replace and bear the cost of recruitment and performance level equal to the person who has the left the organisation. Employee turnover is a major component that destabilises the performance of organisations. Government departments in South Africa have been struggling with the issue of retaining skilled employees, as they have been moving to better paying corporate organisations in the private sector. When employees depart from an organisation, the remaining employees tend to perform additional work until another employee is recruited, which influences the performance of the organisation. The study aims to assess the effect of employee turnover on performance at the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and make recommendations on how to reduce employee turnover and improve performance at the department. The study’s objectives are to identify the factors that cause employee turnover and identify performance challenges faced by the DAC as a whole because of employee turnover. The study will benefit DAC and other government departments in South Africa to enhance performance. The study is exploratory and descriptive in nature. The study undertook mixed methods approach, which is qualitative, and quantitative research design. For data collection, a structured questionnaire was used that comprised of closed-ended and open-ended questions, and 127 KZN DAC employees participated in the study. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The findings show that the causes of employee turnover at the DAC were a lack of career advancement, lack of promotion, unsatisfactory salary, unsatisfactory working conditions, and work stress. Additionally, the performance challenges were wastage of resources, reduction in work productivity, disruptions in service delivery, increased workload and spending too much time training new staff. The study recommended that the Department should improve on mechanisms of getting feedback from its staff members regarding problems that have been identified as causes of high staff turnover rates.


Master of Commerce. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2017.