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Employee Attrition – Where to Begin

September 29, 2022

As the pandemic has drawn to an end, few topics have received more attention than the “Great Resignation,” with predictions that 20% of workers intend to quit their jobs in 2022. Some estimates put this number even higher. So, if you’re facing an employee attrition rate of 30% or more, you’re certainly not alone — but that doesn’t mean that you should be complacent and hope the problem goes away by itself.

Businesses now puzzled by the mass resignation are looking for ways to keep good employees and mitigate any further mass resignations. While many business leaders are left wondering what is going on, many will consider working with a consultant to identify any potential issues contributing to the problem and solve them. Yet this can be a complex subject to approach with your team. What we have found is one of two scenarios to be true; your team has spoken up about the issues and what they have shared has fallen on deaf ears, or they don’t feel it’s worth the risk. Here’s what you need to know. Bite the bullet If you’re still on the fence about what to do, let’s take a quick look at what it means to face an attrition rate of 30% or more.

Attrition focuses on employees that voluntarily leave a company, such as for professional ambitions or personal reasons. This means it’s typically lower than the turnover rate, which includes those who were fired. In 2020, the attrition rate stood at 25.2% in the US across all industries — but in 2021, that rose to 32.7%. It’s important to remember that while every industry can and was affected, not every company saw numbers even close to the national average. While a 30% rate might be close to the average during the pandemic and the spark of the Great Resignation, the numbers are still very significant for companies that found themselves on the receiving end. So, what’s the secret for the companies that that had and still have less than 5% turnover?

Every time someone leaves your organization, you must start the expensive and resource-intensive process of hiring somebody new and training them. In the meantime, this can negatively influence the morale of the team, have some questioning if they should start looking for another job, compromising productivity and even customer experience.

The Secret The easy way is to say they want more money, and if you thought that you’d be wrong. In most cases money is the icing on the cake, but it will not elevate your organization to a sought-out company. Ping-Pong tables, kegerator, and other “fun” perks are just those perks. If your organization is dysfunctional, it won’t take long before people start dropping like flies.

The secret isn’t really a secret at all. Companies that choose to pay careful attention to the way they do business will succeed every time. If you are willing to adjust when your processes are cumbersome, or your technology is no longer appropriate to meet the needs of your team or your business, or your team is speaking up about issues in the business this is how you mitigate mass resignations. Ignore this at your own risk.

For the organizations that are still unsure where to start or just have no idea what is wrong, it’s okay if you don’t know. Admitting you don’t know is better than believing you do and being wrong. So, what’s next?

Preparing the team You know you need help, but how exactly do you tell your team that you know about the employee attrition problem and that you want them to prepare to work with a consultant to overcome the issue? We’ll at the very least they will know that you heard their concerns are you are attempting to do something about it; this typically puts the idea of quitting on hold for most. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind.

Be transparent Very few are comfortable with ambiguity. You might be worried that, if you tell your team, you’ve hired a consultant to solve the problem, they could use this knowledge as leverage and refuse to cooperate with the initiative. This is unlikely but yes it can happen. This behavior is typically driven by fear, uncertainty, and not feeling safe. However, if you try to keep the information from them, it’s likely to result in even bigger problems and spark job insecurity (disillusionment and ultimately resignations). Tell everyone on your team why the consultant has been hired and the role they’re going to play in the organization in the short term. That way, you can clear up any confusion or discontent before the process begins. You want to fully control the message, explain to the team that this is for the betterment of everyone.

In most cases, your team may appreciate the honesty and trust in them you’ve exhibited and push for a better outcome for the company.

Create trust One of our approaches is to explain that any initiative is not about one person but about the organization as a whole. Talking to your team about their participation and being honest about what is going on will help everyone get to the bottom of the issues triggering resignations or low quality of work. Frame the project with a consultant as an opportunity to make the organization and its culture better for everyone.

Above all, reassure them that the consultant will be working for and with them rather than against them.

Create a schedule in advance If you’re struggling with a high employee attrition rate, there’s a good chance that some of your team members are already struggling with burnout and being overworked. Bringing on a consultant can make this problem overwhelming, as your team will need to commit some time to speaking with them. Extending deadlines and being a bit flexible is a short-term solution to getting to the root of the issues and solving them once and for all. It’s important for the team to share their current processes and giving feedback as to what is really going on.

Do Your Due Diligence If you’re new to working with a consultant, it can seem daunting to enter that world for the first time. Or maybe you have worked with one before, but you’re nervous about approaching the subject of employee attrition specifically. Either way, there’s no reason that your team working with consultants shouldn’t go smoothly — as long as you approach it correctly and make sure you do your due diligence. Look for case studies, blogs like this one, references and proof they can help you. If you base your decision solely on price you have not really committed to the process.

Part of this preparation is about choosing the right consultant. If you are thinking about exploring working with us, we’ll guide you through the process of what to expect and how to get your team onboard with the project. To find out more or book a consultation, get in touch with us today.