What is Employee Attrition and How to Prevent It

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Turnover and employee attrition are often thought of as bad words in the recruitment and HR space. But there’s no use in denying that they happen—or ignoring it if your company is facing unwanted employee attrition. Keep reading to learn more about what employee attrition is, how it differs from turnover, and what you can do to prevent it.

What Is Employee Attrition?

Simply put, employee attrition is when an employee voluntarily leaves an organization and the organization chooses not to hire someone else in their place. While employee attrition and employee turnover are quite similar, (and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably), there is a difference between the two. Employee attrition measures employees leaving whose roles the organization does not backfill. Employee turnover, on the other hand, is the rate at which an organization fills the roles that employees leave.

How To Prevent It

Employee attrition is not always unexpected or unwanted—but when it is, it can demoralize the team and negatively impact productivity. Luckily, there are methods you and your team can adopt for helping to prevent employee attrition. 

When it comes to addressing the first component of employee attrition—an employee leaving—you’ll want to ensure you’ve done what you can to make your organization an attractive place to stay, including: 

Hiring the right fit with smart recruitment software. Preventing employee attrition starts with hiring employees that are the right fit at the start of the recruitment process. One of the ways AI-powered recruitment software, like PandoLogic, is effective in helping to prevent employee turnover is by making sure the role you are hiring for is placed in front of qualified candidates at the start of the recruitment process. This takes the guesswork out of job ad placement strategy and sets you up on a path for hiring the right employee.

Offering career paths and mentorship. Once you do get the right employee in the door, you want to ensure they feel valued. Employees want to know they are at an organization where they can grow. Ensure that they have transparent info about career paths and set up mentorship opportunities if possible.

Consider negotiating. It’s never ideal when a valued employee tells you they have decided to leave your company—whether they’ve taken another job or not. While you don’t want to set a precedent of other job offers as leverage, you may want to consider negotiating if the employee is willing. This shows you are an employer willing and wanting to listen. 

Sometimes an organization may not backfill a role due to downsizing or a strategic shift. In this case, employee attrition may be required. But if you choose not to backfill a role because, perhaps, that was not quite the right role in the first place, there is an important thing to consider:

Weighing your long and short-term strategies. No one wants to feel that their role is redundant, and no company wants to pay an employee that isn’t adding value to the team. While you can’t predict the future and sometimes a role is simply no longer needed, taking careful stock of where you are now vs. where you want to go can help you avoid any unnecessary hires. And that will help prevent unwanted employee attrition.  

By using these key tactics, you can start preventing attrition and retaining your valuable employees. And remember—keeping the right employees starts with hiring the right candidates in the first place. 

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