Employee Attrition: Why Is It So Common and How to Fix It?

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Attrition, turnover, no matter what you call it, it’s probably affecting your company. It’s a term that you’ve probably heard many times if you’ve been in the HR industry for a while. If you haven’t, here’s the 101 on this infamous word, why it’s so common, and what are the possible solutions for the problem.

First of all, you should know there are two types of turnover, one is positive for the company and the other one is very negative. Positive turnover means a position is left behind by an employee that was promoted, therefore, the position needs to be filled. On the other hand, negative turnover is when good employees quit, usually after a short period of time, and they must be replaced. Not only does this imply thousands of dollars spent in both compensation and recruitment, but it also means a bad reputation for the company.

So why is attrition so common? There are plenty of reasons that can be attributed to an employee leaving a company: lack of training, unfulfilled expectations, insufficient salary or lack of benefits, too much pressure from managers, bad management, long commute, lack of motivation, no opportunities to grow within the company, bad work environment, among others. Most of them can be easily fixed while some others require a bit more effort.

A company is just empty desks and chairs without its employees, so learning how to appreciate them is key to reducing employee turnover. How can you do that, you ask? These are the best solutions for employee attrition:

Offering constant training: This is something crucial for every company. If you take the time and invest the money to train your staff, they will become better employees, while also feeling appreciated because it’s something that will last them throughout their entire career. Training managers is also important considering they are the decision-makers, and since bad management is one of the main reasons good employees quit.

Communication is key: Employees should be in the loop most of the time from the moment they apply (job offers should convey the tasks the employee will actually be performing) to the moment they decide to leave, if that’s the case. Bad communication and unclear instructions can lead to poor projects being delivered, more pressure, bad results, and an overall bad performance.

Trust your employees so they can trust you: If your job offer was deceitful, if there is no room to grow in the company, if there’s nothing but empty promises of raises and benefits from the get-go, it’s very likely your best employees will run out the door. Let them organize meetings, work from home from time to time, put them in charge of a big project; that way, they will feel more confident and motivated to prove themselves.

Put quality over quantity: If you’re hiring just to quickly fill an empty position or pick a recent graduate just to pay them less than you would an experienced professional, you’re definitely wasting a lot of time and money. Always go for quality over quantity when it comes to the hiring process and you will see the attrition rate go down exponentially. When your hiring process is clear and fair, when you care about candidate experience, when you hire good professionals that fit the position perfectly, we assure you they won’t leave the company as soon as the first couple of months are over.

Track your numbers: Put managers in charge of attrition and retention rates of their own teams. That way, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s happening in every department, with data to back it up, so you can eventually come up with personalized solutions for each one.

Employee attrition is bound to happen in every company, both positive and negative, it might be unavoidable, but it can definitely be fixed to some point. The idea is to know what it is, acknowledge it’s happening, and have an idea of the actual rates and data in order to be able to actually fix those issues.

Vanessa Fardi
Digital Copy Editor