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Michigan Radio's staff turnover report, 2016-2020

As part of the station’s Strategic Plan, Michigan Radio is committed to ensuring that the station's staffing composition reflects the diverse communities we serve. Among the steps the station has taken has been changing our hiring practices - from pre-screening job postings to ensure bias-free language; to expanding search committees to include more diverse evaluators; and standardizing our processes to ensure an equitable experience for all candidates.


An additional element of this effort is examining staff turnover at the station since diversifying the station’s staff can either take place by creating new positions or by filling positions left vacant when staff leave due to retirement or other reasons. Michigan Radio conducts exit interviews with departing staff which are used in this evaluation. Collectively this information is used to brief managers and staff about the progress we’re making in this regard and further changes that may be needed.

Over the past five years, from FY’16 through FY’20, Michigan Radio averaged 52 full time employees per year. Some years that number was slightly higher due to term limited positions that were created, often tied to grant funded initiatives like the station’s State of Opportunity or Morningside projects. During that same period of time, a total of 27 employees left the organization, for an average of 5.4 staff departures per year. This ranged from a high of nine employee departures in FY’16 to three in FY’17. This equates to a 10% average annual employee turnover rate. Although we do not have data for how this compares to other public radio stations, this 10% rate is the same as the staff turnover rate at the station’s licensee, the University of Michigan. It is lower than the 16-19% average turnover rate for non-profit organizations nationwide.*


Michigan Radio annual staff turnover

Of the 27 employees who left the station during this period, 41% left to pursue a different career opportunity, 19% left due to retirement, 11% for performance related reasons, 11% who were in term limited positions and 19% for other or unknown reasons. And of these 27 employees who left the organization, six (22%) identified themselves as Black, Indigenous, Person Of Color (BIPOC).  

From FY’2016-2020, Michigan Radio hired a total of 39 full time employees. This included staff to fill the vacancies previously noted plus several newly created positions and also some temporary term limited positions for specific projects. 32 of the people hired for these positions (82%) identified themselves as white. Although the seven new BIPOC employees hired is one more than the six who left the organization, it represents a slightly lower percentage of the total staff (18% of staff hired compared to 22% of departed staff) since the total staff size has increased. As a result, this has not helped the station become a more diverse organization. In addition, of these 39 positions filled at the station, ten were filled by internal candidates, with only one of these being a Person of Color. 


Starting in 2020, a more focused effort to mitigate bias in hiring and support a structured, equitable experience was implemented. This includes building job postings that contain inclusive language, expanding search committees to include more diverse evaluators, using inclusive recruiting best practices that mitigate bias and training hiring team members to recognize their own bias during the process. The station has also introduced an annual report on the demographic composition of our staff which is posted on our website so the public can track our progress in this regard.

*Source: 2016 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey

Steve is Michigan Public's Marketing Director. His job involves coordinating the station’s marketing, communication and public relations efforts, special events, car donation program and community & media partnerships.