3 Problems with Employee Attrition… And What We Can Do About It

CoachHub · 7 December 2022 · 6 min read

Many organisations are facing problems retaining employees due to the great resignation. Even bad enough is the fact that employees are forced to resign due to poor working conditions and low growth potential in their jobs. As a result, some employers are losing more workers due to uncomfortable working situations, and the reverse would have been the case had the conditions been better. With organisations facing challenges such as employee attrition, leaders must pay attention to the causes and ensure it is controlled adequately. In this guide, we explore attrition in the workplace, attrition vs turnover, causes of attrition and how to deal with it.

What’s employee attrition?

Attrition is a physical activity that involves the wearing out of a physical substance in strength and size. Hence, attrition in the workplace, or employee attrition, is the rate at which employees leave their jobs without being replaced. This includes all forms of attrition—whether the employee resigned of their own volition, retired from their roles, or was fired or laid off from the job. As long as the roles don’t get occupied, it simply means the organisation is experiencing job attrition.

What’s the difference between turnover and attrition?

In looking at what differentiates attrition from turnover, it’s easy to assume they are similar since they both focus on the rate at which employees leave their jobs. However, the major difference between turnover vs attrition is that turnover takes into account the rate at which employees leave an organisation whether they’re replaced or not, attrition only focuses on the rate at which employees leave their jobs without being replaced.

Some common causes of attrition in the workplace include:

Lack of opportunities for growth:

When employees feel that they have little or no opportunity for growth, they are likely to leave their jobs. If more employees leave the organisation, the likelihood of attracting new employees is very low, especially since the internet has opened up the opportunity for employees to leave reviews about what it feels like working in a particular organisation. With low chances of replacing exiting employees, an organisation is bound to face high attrition rates.

Little to no work-life balance:

A demanding role where quality work-life balance is absent is likely to make more employees leave than stay. With the current paradigm where employees are learning to prioritise themselves and things that make them happy over making money, employees tend to leave jobs that make them sacrifice such priorities.

Poor compensation and salary structure:

In light of the rising inflation, it would be difficult to retain employees when the pay structure and compensation are lower compared to the market value of the job. Additionally, it would be challenging to attract new talents to occupy the position for lower pay and compensation when other organisations are offering hire rates.

employee attrition

3 problems that employees face with employee attrition

Attrition in the workplace can negatively impact an organisation in various ways. Aside from the fact that it weakens the viability of an organisation, 3 major problems are also common.

1. Low company morale:

As the viability of the organisation weakens with fewer workers doing most of the job, there are chances that workers will suffer low morale levels. This is because social interaction is part of an organisation’s working culture. When more and more employees leave, the morale to keep working becomes low amongst the remaining employees. In the end, they may begin to seek new opportunities to also exit the organisation or even beckon former colleagues to inform them about openings in other organisations.

2. Loss of productivity:

Lowered employee morale comes with additional problems—loss of productivity. Employees who remain on the job are likely to face challenges with their productivity, especially if the unoccupied roles are critical to their output. Heavily interdependent organisations are likely to face reduced productivity when facing employee attrition. As a result, the output on the job is heavily reduced and there’s pressure on fewer people to do more work.

3. High cost and difficulty of recruiting and training new people:

It could be challenging to attract new employees within the required time frame when facing employee attrition. Recruiting and training new employees would also be expensive, especially since it was not budgeted from the onset. Organisations may face bigger problems when they lose core staff who are supposed to train newer ones. Ultimately, they’ll end up spending more to attract top talents or have to create a new budget to train average ones.

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Workforce attrition; What we can do about it

Employee attrition is a common experience in various organisations. However, the best organisations manage it effectively by ensuring that most of their workers are trained to handle different capacities. Here are some ways to handle workforce attrition.

Appreciate employees for their efforts:

Compensations, rewards, and pay commensurate to talents’ skills are major ways to handle employee attrition. When employees see how much they’re valued, they’re likely to have a sense of connection to the organisation and stay longer on their jobs.

Create avenues for employee support and development:

Employers looking to retain employees should look out for ways to support and help them develop their skills. Enrolling employees in personalised coaching, and professional development programs amongst other things can help to boost employee morale to stay on the job. For instance, an employee given the opportunity to enrol in a development program on a partial or all-expense paid basis is likely to feel indebted to the organisation and spend more time on the job than others who aren’t.

Seek genuine feedback from employees:

One way to deal with this problem is to see things from the perspective of your current employees. Their feedback helps you to identify problem areas you’ve not been paying attention to. Also, if the attrition is due to bad leadership within a department, it can be easily managed by getting the leader to register for coaching. Without employee feedback, the organisation is likely to suffer various challenges without knowing how to deal with them.

Prioritise employee well-being:

Toxic work cultures can be detrimental to employee well-being. Understanding that employees have personal lives and priorities outside of their jobs, will help to create a sense of safety for the employees. When they feel secure, they’re less likely to lose interest in working with the organisation. Sponsoring family-centric events, encouraging meet and greets, and other employee-focused events can go a long way to show employees that you care about them beyond the work they do.

Seek thorough insights into the causes of increased attrition rate:

It’s not enough to seek palliative measures to deal with employee attrition. Rather, it’s better to seek insight into the reasons why attrition is occurring within the organisation and focus on dealing with it directly. Without doing this, all other measures to combat the problem would not address it directly and it may even lead to wasting of resources.

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Conclusion

Employee attrition is quite different from turnover, and proper measures can be put in place to ensure that workers are retained longer on the job. In dealing with the problem, the best bet is to look within the organisation or department experiencing attrition. This helps to identify the actual reason behind it and helps to know where and how to address the problem. Attrition can lead to a combination of problems within the organisation, hence, it’s important to find ways to deal with it effectively.

Samuel Olawole
Samuel Olawole is a freelance copywriter and content writer who specializes in creating exciting content across a wide range of topics and industries. When he’s not writing, you can find him traveling or listening to good music.

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