Most management manuals deal with retention and holding on to your best people. The fact, though, is that attrition is also just as valuable to a company. In fact, it is said that a company must have a turnover rate of 15%. More than that, you need to plug your leaks, but if nobody is leaving, you also have a problem in your hands. Why people leave There are only two real reasons why anyone would leave a company- internal and external factors. Internal factors make up the ‘push’, as in pushing your own people out. It usually is the lack of motivation, the lack of recognition, and bad management. The external factors are the ‘pull’. Better opportunities for growth, higher learning, more fulfilment, and the promise of an amicable work environment often pull people out of a workplace. There is a factor that works on both sides- money, enough of it, and the lack of it. The positives Attrition creates an environment where the company can hire a potentially better worker than the outgoing one. Think of the opportunity that a fresher can create for a position that is not particularly challenging, but due to seniority, the person commands a high salary. Another fact to consider is the market for employment. High turnover happens in markets where unemployment is low. So, if there are a lot of jobs to go about, there will be people jumping between jobs till they find a job that suits them. A good reason for attrition to be considered positive is that it gives way for improvement. If you are certain that your company is a good place to work in, why are people leaving in droves? An internal investigation of the company can reveal what is going wrong. Perhaps a change in management is in order? Maybe you need to increase the pay scale? Whatever it may be, attrition is the best indicator that the company is sick and that it needs to be fixed. If your turnover is unnaturally high, find out how many people are leaving and why it is happening. People who leave can be dissected into age, gender, race, grade, duration of service, and rank. The issue can then be easily narrowed down. Treat attrition and turnover like the normal part of your business cycle and you will know that it is good for your company. It is not possible to always hold on to your best talent. Some of them are going to leave and they are going to be difficult to replace, but that is how business is and you need to come to terms with it. Turnover is also not strictly a statistical and scientific issue, but a human problem, so it has to be studied as one.
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