Sunday, March 7, 2010

Employee Attrition: Do we have a solution?

You may have read score of articles on cause, effect and possible solutions to address employee attrition. And believe me, they are just hypothetical analysis by some industry stalwart who has thought the top ten reasons or so in his/her comfortable cabin. Some 8 years of working in IT industry, which is highly attrition ridden industry has made me think on real issues. I want my readers to think and elaborate on what I will mention in next few lines.

Reason 1: Business leaders are no longer trustworthy
An MBA in old world business concepts coupled with industry experience in complacent environments has made business leaders a bunch of weak ducks. They isolate themselves in conference rooms, converse with few politically aligned colleagues and just push around with conflicting agendas. The employees hardly hear from them on mail or in person which makes the situation untrustworthy. Employees feel the pinch of impending doom. So they tend to flee the place as soon as they see better opportunity

Reason 2: Culture
This is the single most reason why the ace employees leave or become frustrated. During the hiring process, HR executives hire purely on basis of project requirements and technical skills of person. The background, solution oriented approach and behavioural aspects are taken for granted. This makes entry of employees who pollute the culture of the organization. We hardly hear of attrition in companies like Apple, Google, IDEO or Disney Studios. The reason is the people who create the culture. A good employee needs good colleagues, a highly evolved mentor and intellectually challenging environment. Good employees do not need recognition certificates or team awards. They are self motivated. All they need is a highly refined and growth oriented culture.

Reason 3: Loyalty and Star performers
Rewarding star performers and introducing loyalty programs never help. These are just activities taken by senior management to justify their false mentoring attitude and probably their own salary. The star performers are soon forgotten and the business goes on. The right step is to keep an eye on the performer and mentor him to achieve excellence. There must a definite succession planning for such individuals and a great reward for long term loyalty. This could be high bonus payout on completing 5 or 10 years of service. This will actually inspire other employees to perform and show loyalty towards the company

Reason 4: Lack of honesty
Organizations are not honest with themselves. The leaders love to hear what they want to hear and ignore the hard facts that challenge them on face. They hoard the information and never let others know even if the assignment is critical. Their actions are contrary to the mission/vision/value statement they boast about in open forums. This lack of honesty trickles down to their subordinates who give similar leeway in their work. And they finally leave to do similar damage to the next organization, they are supposed to join.

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