Arresting attrition is perhaps one of the greatest challenges for HR managers today. While there can be individual reasons for employees leaving an organisation, a remarkably high attrition rate may point towards a lack of belongingness among the employees. A strategy-oriented approach may be needed to address it.
Perhaps the best way to begin would be by understanding the probable and possible reasons for employee attrition. Understanding the market or industry trends and comparing them with internal data and feedback received through exit interviews, questionnaires, one-on-one feedback sessions, etc., can throw valuable insights into any visible patterns concerning employee turnover. Deploying behavioural metrics can lend objectivity to the process.
The extracted insights can help the organisation to launch retention interventions and initiatives. For instance, we have been witnessing attrition in largely two groups – one who leaves within a year of joining and the mid to long-tenured employees (those who have completed 3 years with us). The initiatives may have to be directed specifically at these two distinct employee groups and all the retention interventions need to have a common underlying theme – to provide a sense of belongingness and purpose for each individual.
Arresting Attrition for The New Recruits
Newer employees can be absorbed successfully into the system when they are hired in alignment with the organisation’s values and competencies. Recruiters will have to resist the tendency of force-fitting an individual in a particular position, which usually happens where the pressure to close a position is linked to perceived revenue loss. Competency-based interviews can help in evaluating candidates and identifying their appropriate fit. An objective selection process that focuses on hiring requirements such as skills sets, education and experience, location and diversity parameters, etc., will help in creating a suitable fit.
Tighter onboarding, which refers to creating a structured plan for orientating the new employee into the system, also helps in enabling the new employees to acclimatise to the new environment. Formal orientation and induction sessions along with buddy programmes will help generate a sense of belongingness in the new employee.
The approach proves useful as Practus has observed early attrition (<1 year) getting reduced by 30% in Sep’ 22 as compared to Sep’ 21. Attrition in the 2 years bucket is also down by 20%.
We have been witnessing attrition in largely two groups – one who leaves within a year of joining and the mid to long-tenured employees (those who have completed 3 years with us). The initiatives are thus directed specifically at these two distinct employee groups.
Arresting Attrition for The Older Employees
For employees that have spent more than three-odd years in the system, personalised Individual Development Plans have to be drawn up for retaining the top talent in the organisation. These plans will clearly define growth plans, outcomes, timelines, and support requirements. Accelerated growth plans, market-aligned compensation, and competitive variable pay can help to keep them engaged. Also, employees have to be identified for various leadership roles and groomed accordingly.
Apart from tailored strategies, some common interventions can help in generating a sense of belongingness in the employees. E-learning modules, training sessions, skill-building workshops, etc., can help elevate interest levels in the employees. Initiatives to improve personal well-being, including mental wellness, also enables employees to contribute productively to the organisational goals. It makes employees feel that they are participating in a nurturing ecosystem. Special interest groups and hobby clubs are also significant interventions to alleviate stress among employees.
At Practus, we evaluate our team members on 2 parameters – attitude and aptitude:
-Team members who score high on both parameters are our “Super 40” – they are the next-in-line leaders for tomorrow.
-Team members who are high/medium on attitude and aptitude are also ‘ring-fenced’ by providing them with career paths and learning opportunities.
-Individual Development Plans have been drawn up for the top talent in the company. These plans clearly define growth plans, outcomes, timelines, and support requirements.
-Accelerated growth plans, market-aligned compensation, and competitive variable pay are strategies that are used to keep them engaged.
Overall attrition numbers seem to be exhibiting a declining trend. We are estimating that attrition in the longer-tenured team member base to be down by about 30% this year.
Attrition can be arrested when employees feel a sense of belonging to their organisation. There is no particular one-size-fits-all formula for the same and HR managers will have to employ multi-pronged strategies to generate a sense of belongingness in employees.
About the author: Aditi Nair has played a key role in institutionalising the People function at Practus. She established organisations as great employer brands in her previous stints at Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndoStar Capital Finance Ltd.
Year of Incorporation: 2007
Number of Employees: India 161, corporate roles – 28, USA – 28
Founders: S Venkat & Deepak Narayanan
Business Line: Practus solves business problems for clients using tech as an enabler to improve profitability, reduce working capital and enhance enterprise valuations.
Workforce Growth: Roughly 30% CAGR in the last two years
Workforce Pie: Delivery 83%, BD 6%, Corp roles 11%
Key HR Factor:
– Culture as a Differentiator: Young team of thought leaders & disruptors (average age 33-34)
– Diversity across genders & backgrounds (36% women)
– Learning for all – Practus provides opportunities to all its employees for various learning programs across various top institutions & online