Factors Affecting Attrition and Strategies of Retention

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Why Do People leave Jobs?

There are various factors that affect an individual’s decision to leave a job. While an employee’s leaving the job is considered attrition by one organization, it is looked at as talent acquisition by the new organization and to the individual it means a career move, economic growth and enhanced quality of life/convenience or closeness to family etc. Hence, what is a problem for one may be an opportunity for another.

This short note examines the key reasons for attrition and explores ‘what enhances retention’ as well as outlines some of the factors that can control attrition. It also touches up those factors that are beyond ones control.

Factors Affecting Attrition and Retention

There are various reasons why people leave their current job. These reasons may vary from individual to individual and when data are collected from a large number of individuals leaving or who have left an organization, some consistencies may be observed-providing more insights as to why people leave in large numbers. If these are controllable-one attempts to control. If these are not within the control of the organization, the organization should prepare itself for managing attrition.

Managing attrition does not mean reducing attrition only. It could also mean bringing down the negative affects of attrition and increasing the positive affects of attrition. To increase the positive effects of attrition and reduce the negative affects, appropriate retention and capacity utilization or talent utilization tactics should be used. In one of the organizations, attrition has been used as brand building opportunity. Thus an organization may say that we provide talent for other companies or they may say that if you join us your brand value goes up and you get good jobs etc.

Today when a person leaves it causes a lot of disturbances in the organization. If it is a small organization the disturbance is even greater. Hence it is important to understand and manage attrition. There can be various reasons for people leaving their current jobs. Some of these include:

Ambitions or Career Aspirations: It is but natural in a growing society and growing economy that employees at all levels aspire to build their career. There are economic aspirations, professional aspirations, family aspirations and all kinds of aspirations and ambitions that affect a persons desire to move. It is rare not to have such career aspirations. In the past, organizations grew at a pace and stability and individuals mostly saw their career in the current organization and stuck to the same. Now a days either organizations don’t grow at the pace at which the individual career aspirations grow or other organizations grow at a pace that matches the individual causing individuals to move. When you treat all the world as a large space for growth and building a career, it is futile for any organization to all the time compete with the rest of the world and try to provide careers for all the employees at the same pace at which the entire world or the best of the organizations in the world is moving. It is better to appreciate the growth and mobility and movement of the mind and take attrition as a natural phenomenon than to be agitated about it and have sleepless nights. However, if the organization can do something to create new opportunities, that meet the growing aspirations of competent people, it should certainly be attempted. However, such attempts require correct diagnosis of the situation.

Comparisons and Equity Considerations: Comparisons with peers or classmates from the same college, batch, age group, organization, first job, city, etc. there are numerous dimensions on which similarities can be picked up and compared. Individuals today are flooded with such comparisons. Business magazines, compensation surveys by consultants and MNC companies have only aggravated this situation and...
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