Gone are the days when you could keep your star performers for their entire careers. Employee engagement has and will continue to be a hot and challenging topic. The reasons are twofold – one, attrition is expensive and two, it is not a straightforward problem to solve. The fact of the matter is that attrition rates are high and will continue to be. One major contributor to rapid attrition is the shift in aspirations, needs and wants of the newer generations. Their dominant paradigms to live life are from a place of purpose, adventure, greater good and following your heart. Promotions, money, titles are not enough to hold people in a role, team or organization anymore. This phenomenon will become more and more prevalent.
Of course, a thriving culture is essential, and we need to have all the best practices in place to keep the employees happy and engaged. What is also important is to recognize that people will want to leave in spite of being happy.
The best thing that managers and human resource executives can do in this environment is plan well for attrition. What does that mean?
First, acknowledge that attrition will happen and is now a natural part of leading a team. Accepting this will help you look at the situation differently. Your entire management philosophy might change. Let’s look at how that will be:
- Avoid single point of failure: If you believe that anyone can leave at any time, you will start looking at the roles and responsibilities in a new light. You will make sure that more than one person is involved in all the critical functions within the team. Cross training and rotation of responsibility will become good practices within the organization. No single person or group of people will hold too much power, resulting in a more democratic way of leading a team.
- Better career planning: You can have real shorter career pathing conversations with your team. This will result in a more focused actionable plan.
- Be emotionally prepared: If you are emotionally ready when your team members leave suddenly, there is less bad blood. You will be able to wish them well because you have the constructs in place to take care of the work when they go. Doing this will allow you to maintain a vibrant network with your ex-colleagues.
- Build a steady pipeline: It is essential now more than ever to keep a pipeline of talent ripe and ready. The managers most affected by attrition are the ones that fail to do so. Think of this as an ongoing responsibility of being a people manager in this modern workplace.
- Recognize the advantage of attrition: Sometimes roles and the skills required for the functions become obsolete. Ongoing churn keeps bringing in fresh blood and newer energy in the team.
- Tightening your hiring and recruitment process: Recruiting is a costly, time-consuming affair. If this is a recurring problem, it will force you to adopt innovative recruiting solutions to cut down the time and cost of hiring.
Coping with attrition should not be a problem if it is acknowledged, anticipated and managed. By heeding all these tips, attrition will seem more like business as usual rather than a crisis.