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Employee attrition or turnover and its impact on the business are well known. HR thought leaders have defined the cost of replacing an employee at anywhere between 2.0x – 3.0x of the annual salary of the employee. Simply put, an exiting employee, earning an annual salary of 400k will cost 1 Million to replace.

Let’s take it in two parts. First and foremost is to look at the top 5 reasons for employee attrition and then we will look at how to deal with it effectively as a HR practitioner.

Having hired and engaged thousands of IT professionals in India over the past two decades – having seen countless slices and dices of exit data – I wanted to summarize the top reasons I have come across time and again.

My top 5 reasons are in no particular order of importance, each company may have their own order basis their staffing and employee engagement practices, so go ahead and arrange it in your own order of priority.

In every self respecting IT company many hours are spent churning out the exit data and then follow the series of discussions where business leaders ask for further slicing and dicing. With the evolution of technology tools, young HR professionals demonstrate tremendous creativity in putting together the analysis & charts – the ROI after all the reviews is a long list of action items with most of the actions back on the HR Partner or in some cases forming a cross functional task force.

Track the numbers. Don’t over analyze, agree to a simple format and frequency and keep to it. Call out action items and nail them in real time. Don’t let it become an annual project.
Responsibility. Make people managers responsible for retention and engagement of their respective teams. It is essential that the people managers are empowered and enabled to exercise the responsibility.
Track quality of hires. Not quantity of hires! the concept of measuring quality of hires is still new to many companies. If you fix the input, the output takes care of itself.
Attrition is cyclical. Every company in India goes thru highs & lows in retention and the cycle repeats itself every few years. Nothing can plug the leak permanently, fix the leak systemically.
Provide growth. An all round view of growth for each individual is needed to ensure relevance. Providing opportunities to grow professionally, economically and socially helps retain talent in the long run.
In summary, in all employee engagement and retention discussions, put the quality of work front and centre. I think the time has come for organizations and HR practitioners to start creating an individualized retention plan for each professional in the company rather than a generic retention plan. These are exciting times! path breaking innovations are occurring in every sphere of our lives, mobile apps have changed the way companies are setting and tracking goals….

Please share your thoughts and experience on what you think would be the aspects and elements in an individualized retention plan.

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