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We were discussing the reasons for attrition at a client company. Bob, the manager in-charge of the centre said ” It’s difficult to put a handle on why people are leaving. At times we feel it is the market place and opportunities outside that fuel attrition. At others, we feel may be there are things we can do better to retain talent”.

That’s true. There is no easy answer. The reasons people say why they are leaving are often not the real reasons why they are leaving. In my experience, compensation is often cited as the main reason why people leave but the truth is that people leave for factors other than compensation. The reasons why people leave an organization are not the same reasons why they joined that organization in the first place.

I told Bob ” I strongly believe that the first step to reducing attrition is, no, not increasing compensation but improving your selection process.” Better selection results in better “fit” and the chances of attrition are reduced if the overall fit is stronger. “Fit” is not made up of one factor alone- say technical skills. It encompasses issues like fitting into the organization’s culture, having values which the organization embodies, and the ability to display behaviours the organization requires for job success.

In a situation where the demand for quality talent is high, often compromises are made at the selection stage. These are done for purely short -term gains.”The project is stuck. We need a guy with his skills”, “No one here has knowledge of that geography” etc are reasons trotted out to explain away such compromises.

By the way, some candidates look to the short term, too. To add a seemingly glamorous organizational name to their resume, to rise up the hierarchy with a more fancy title ( even if was only for a few months) etc.

As I told Bob and his team:

  • Know what you want when you begin the selection process
  • Know the reasons why the person is leaving his/her last organization
  • Do not make short term compromises
  • Hire for fit rather than for skills

Do this and do this well and you will have begun the process of reducing attririton

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