How do organizations deal with high employee turnover rates?

Employee turnover hurts the bottom line of an organization due to its direct hit on productivity and rising negative morale in the team. If the word gets out on increasing turnover rate in the organization, it can cascade down to losing clients and affects profitability as well.

Often a resignation email can feel like a punch to the gut, handing the immediate managers and team high and dry. This can be particularly more damaging when the employees choose to disappear in the middle of an ongoing assignment or project. In the wake of having to deal with consequences and working on damage control, HR professionals must conduct a thorough autopsy to help understand what happened and necessary corrective action.

Well, exit interviews are one source that can provide insights to help improve employee retention per se. If conducted well, these interviews have serious shortcomings barring situations of ghosting/ impulsive quitting. Most departing employees mask critical feedback to leave on a good note, and this is primarily considered to be futile exercise by those who leave the organization.

First of all, how can organizations respond to resignations in ways that might transform the pain of employee turnover into progress?

Code and classify employee resignations.

The first step towards turning employee resignations into a source of organizational learning and improvement is first to review them periodically. Identify patterns in this data and slowly work on where or what this is leading to. Answer questions like –

  • Do employees tend to follow company guidelines when they resign (doing it by the book) or is there a great deal of variance in how employees quit?
  • Is walking away from the job with no notice more common in some departments or among individual workers?
  •  Do the employees of certain supervisors always resign by providing more notice than is required? Closely examining these resignation styles can help organizations identify bright spots and problem areas earlier as they progress.

Talk to co-workers.

More often, people will not always be open to divulging their actual reasons for quitting. However, their peers may have insights and be motivated to share this information to help the organization improve. Initiating informal discussions with colleagues close to the employee who resigned can help organizations ascertain motives behind their departure to some extent.

This can positively also impact the remaining employees and can treat this as an outlet to discuss their thoughts and opinions. Please note that this line of investigation can tend to cause some discord among employees. They must be reassured that this exercise is meant for improving the experience of the remaining workforce and the performance of the company.

This approach is likely to be most effective when managers possess good working relationships with their employees. As a result, subordinates feel psychologically safe to share their insights without any fear of consequences further.

Set up a mechanism to understand the reasons for employee turnover

Examine and learn from what the employee does after they leave. The HR team can track their alumni further to find out if quitters join the competition, or pursue graduate degrees, etc. If a substantial amount of those who quit return to school, there may be an opportunity for the company to improve retention by offering discounted or free education.

In case the reason to quit is to become stay-at-home parents, perhaps a more comprehensive work-family program can provide the much-needed healthy work-life balance. If the trend suggests attrition to the competition, consequently it is worth looking into this firm’s culture, development programs, compensation, and benefits to determine why the organization is losing talent to a rival.

Having to deal with an employee who has just announced his intention to quit is rarely pleasant, but still, it must be done right. In this light, by using an evidence-based approach to determine the cause and nature of this loss, managers and HR professionals can gain valuable knowledge for their firms.  The next time along with efforts on replacing this resource, professionals need to work on understanding the nature of the resignation, collect data and consider its broader implications.

Finally, handling the situation of handling employee turnover must be viewed as a learning opportunity for continuous improvement for managers and firms.

For further information and additional resources, you may refer to jobsmama.


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