Having high a Attrition rate is no joke. I experienced it while having to hire incredible amounts of people not only to help teams grow, but also to replace the people lost. At one point, it became painfully obvious that the growth our organization needed was only going to be possible if we were hiring to grow, instead of mostly hiring to replace the people we had lost.
So, I had to get on with the program and own one of the least exciting initiatives of my career: “Figuring out what’s was going on with Attrition, and increase Employee Retention”.
It was one of those projects that you really don’t want to do, but you truly understand how important it is. Appropriate to note here: I became “The Queen of Employee Retention” (For the record, I just gave myself that nickname!).
Based on my experience, here are the steps that work to get Attrition down and Retention UP.
1. STUDY YOUR DATA
Do Your Homework!
Your first step is to get together with your HR team and pull as much data as you can. Pull info from the last 90-days to 6 months that reflect the number of employees that both resigned and were terminated from the organization. This will help you understand and recognize what are the common reasons and find any trends.
Key ways to distribute and look at this data:
-Voluntary terminations (People resigning)
-Involuntary Terminations (Company terminating the employee)
-Tenure in the company (How long the person was employed)
-Occupation/Department (Sales, Marketing, Customer service, etc.)
-Manager (Employees’ manager at the time of termination)
2. UNDERSTAND THE REASONS WHY PEOPLE ARE LEAVING
If people are leaving the company voluntarily you must know why.
Most companies conduct in-person exit interviews and get stories that open their eyes to potential underlying issues. This is not always a reliable source as there are many people that avoid having to provide face to face feedback.
Here are my suggestions on others sources of awareness:
Partner up with HR to craft and send out an Exit Survey, which promises to stay confidential, and collects feedback from ex-employees a couple of days after they have left. Now, if you start this initiative please keep in mind that you need to send this survey to everyone. You can’t pick and choose here!
Start holding your leaders accountable to know when their employees are thinking of resigning. Create a plan that ensures your awareness of every possible resignation. This gives you an opportunity to figure out what’s happening with the employee and if there is anything you can do about it before they leave.
3. KNOW WHY PEOPLE ARE GETTING TERMINATED
Find out: Are the rules and policies in place causing a high number of involuntary terminations? Do you have certain managers terminating at a higher rates than others? There is a lot to dig out in this category. My advice is, trust that the data will guide you appropriately to ask the best questions towards improvement.
Keep in mind: Working environments with high involuntary attrition tend to be very stressful and not positive for employees.
How well do you think a fearful employee performs? I can tell you right now -Not very well!
Create an environment that drives ethical behavior, while making it a special place where people can be themselves, feel valued and appreciated for their efforts constantly.
4. REVIEW CONSTANTLY
For a long time, I would check EVERY morning the “Termination Report” in case a termination I wasn’t aware of had been processed overnight.
Also, I created a weekly meeting where the leaders of my departments had to go over a list of “people at risk”. We would discuss the reasons and possible steps to try an avoid future terminations (both voluntary and involuntary).
The key is to be proactive. Try to catch your people before they either leave voluntarily, or get too close to termination status because of “company policy infractions” (or however you call what triggers involuntarily terminations).
Start by taking these first steps, and a whole new world of “things to do” will pop-up for you! The more data you have on WHY people are leaving the better.
For further context, you can read these 2 engagement pieces regarding “Employee Retention Purposes”:
Being intentional about figuring out our Attrition problems, and implementing initiatives around Employee Retention made significant impacts in the growth of the company. Given our success, I was invited to speak in front of our entire organization during our annual company meeting to share our processes which drove down Attrition levels year after year.
These steps work. Follow them and see yourself successfully tackling your revolving door problem to create a working environment where employees stay and thrive.
If you have specific questions or need more guidance around this topic, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mariana Jaeger is a Leadership Development and Performance Success expert and has successfully trained, mentored and coached hundreds of people in her career. To learn more about Mariana, click here