Understanding Employee Attrition & Retention | Executive Recruiter

      Understanding Employee Attrition & Retention

      Organizations want to hold on to their employees. Employees are the lifeblood of a company, and managers spend lots of time training them to produce results and meet business objectives. 

      When employees leave an organization, they take their knowledge and skills with them. Managers then have to find new people to fill their roles and start training from the beginning.

      Retaining employees isn’t easy. Organizations are learning that workers aren’t happy filling the same role year after year. Employees want new challenges and more opportunities for moving up in the company. 

      If employees feel they’ve learned all they can in a role, they’ll look for another position in another organization that allows them to expand their capabilities.

      There are two key metrics that companies should consider when monitoring their staff: employee attrition and employee retention.

      Defining Employee Attrition

      Employee attrition reflects the number of workers who choose to leave an organization in any given period. It includes individuals who find other jobs at other companies, go for personal reasons, or retire. Managers should measure employee attrition by quarter and by year to determine whether they have a problem retaining workers.

      To calculate employee attrition, divide the number of employees who left the organization during a specific period by the average of the company’s total workforce for the period. 

      For instance, consider an organization with 500 employees. During a quarter, ten employees leave the company for other roles, five quit to care for their families, and five retire. The company has an attrition rate of 4% for the quarter, calculated as:

      (20 / 500) x 100 = 4% 

      Companies should seek to keep their attrition rate as low as possible. Lower attrition rates indicate happier workers. High attrition rates indicate problems with the organization’s salaries and benefits, management teams, or available opportunities for workers.

      Understanding Employee Retention

      Employee retention includes the number of employees who stay with a company over a given period. Higher employee retention rates indicate that workers are satisfied with the organization. They feel good about their position and their prospects within the company. They don’t feel a need to leave since they are content. 

      Calculating employee retention is very simple. Simply divide the number of employees who stayed with the organization by the total number of workers over the given period. 

      For example, consider an organization with 500 employees at the beginning of the period. At the end of the period, the organization kept 475 employees, while 25 left. The retention rate is 95%, as the calculation shows:

      (475 / 500) x 100 = 95%

      The higher the retention rate, the better. Lower retention rates indicate that workers don’t feel fulfilled. Employees may be unhappy with their pay and benefits or the management structure.

      When to Measure Employee Retention and Attrition

      Most companies measure employee retention and attrition yearly. However, calculating it monthly or quarterly can allow management to identify early trends.

      Pinpointing problems promptly can prevent retention and attrition from becoming a more significant issue. 

      Compare your current retention and attrition rates with previous measurements to determine when significant changes occur. 

      If attrition rates increase by more than 10% over a given period, you likely have an issue. It’s critical to get to the bottom of why employees are leaving to develop a strategy for maintaining your staff.

      Taking Early Action on Employee Attrition Rates

      Employers who notice rising attrition rates are smart to take action quickly. Implement a method for determining why employees are leaving. Most companies have an exit process where HR talks with employees to understand why they quit. 

      While exit interviews can help, sometimes employees are reluctant to say why they are genuinely quitting. They may feel uncomfortable sharing their reasons with an HR person they don’t know very well. Others may fear that the organization will retaliate against them somehow and don’t wish to damage their reputation with the company.

      If the results from in-person exit interviews are lackluster, the organization can send a survey to the employee. A paper or email survey allows employees to indicate their reasons for leaving without speaking to an HR member. It’s also possible to anonymize surveys to protect workers who don’t want to share their feelings directly.

      Company managers who notice a pattern in why employees leave can take direct action to correct the issue. 

      Improving Employee Retention

      Once senior leadership determines why employees are leaving, they can attempt to address the issues.

      The most common reasons for looking for another role are better pay and benefits. Employees who don’t feel their compensation reflects their responsibilities and education are likely to look for another employer who will pay them adequately.

      Employers can conduct pay surveys for their location to ensure their employees receive wages in line with expectations. 

      For instance, consider a company that has a team of financial analysts. Each individual receives a starting salary of $60,000 per year. However, the starting rate for a financial analyst in the city is $70,000 annually. The company would be wise to bump up the wages to match local expectations. Otherwise, employees may start to leave.

      Benefits are another vital component of an employee’s remuneration. Companies should ensure their benefit plans align with other organizations and seek to provide better benefits if possible.

      Different employees value certain benefits over others. For instance, one employee may appreciate the ability to work from home several days a week while another worker may seek compensation for furthering their education.

      Increase Your Organization’s Retention and Attrition Rates

      Employee retention is essential for organizations seeking to maintain their workers’ skills and knowledge. When an employee leaves, the employer must find another individual to fill their place. Increased worker attrition indicates problems within the company, such as poor salaries and benefits and a lack of opportunity for moving up.

      Companies can increase their employee retention rates by determining exactly why their workers are leaving. Once they notice a pattern, they should take swift action to correct the deficiencies that cause their employees to look elsewhere.

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