May 2, 2020
Performing employees are the biggest asset of any organization, name any industry. The efficiency of operation of an organization largely depends on the quality of the employees, their experience and efficiency on the job. Most of the medium and big organizations are system-driven, so performing employees with comparatively longer tenure in the same organization becomes important as it takes quite-a-while to learn the inner systems of the company. The optimum productivity from an employee comes only when he is fully aware and accustomed with the systems of a company. Hence high attrition rates of efficient, performing band of employees becomes a big challenge for all organizations in the growth-trajectory.
An insight to look for the reason
In India, attrition is a problem in almost every industry, major percentages remaining in Retail, e-commerce, media & advertising, banking and Information Technology. Let’s have a closer look on this prominent issue for finding out the reasons.
To understand the inner reasons that drive an employee to leave an organization we need to delve a bit deeper. It all starts with evaluating a job offer. Today’s potential employees, even freshers, are smarter in the way of collecting information and lot of tools are handy in the internet, too. But what information they gather before joining an organization is in fact insufficient to feel the inside environment of a particular company.
Information about an organization can be collected from outside in many ways. One can
go through the company website, trading sites like Moneycontrol.com etc. (if the company is listed), or check with Facebook groups or by connecting present or ex-employees through Quora, LinkedIn or similar websites. It is obvious that the information collected from company websites are simply those information what the company management wants to let the outsiders know – usually the generalized positive statements about the company. In trading sites one may get a hint about the top management and financial health of the company, and if you are a pro-trader you may get certain hints about the near future performance by working out from the financial ratios. But for a potential employee there are many more important questions do exist.
How is the working environment?
How the employees treated?
Is there an unbiased and efficient appraisal system?
Is positive and honest efforts appreciated?
Is there a positive work-life balance?
To get the above questions answered one is likely to approach the relevant communities or groups in social media where one may get some information from an insider or an ex-employee which may be beneficial up to certain extent. Still, it is to be remembered that these information are greatly influenced by one’s personal experience with that organization. For a big company with multiple work segments it is awful to judge by only few such reviews.
So, how actually the outsiders evaluate a company?
In fact, an outsider potential employee does not evaluate a company, they evaluate the job offer instead. While talking with people changing jobs, it strongly feels that generally people chose from various job offers mainly based on the following six factors:
1. Salary & performance based remuneration as committed in the offer.
2. Brand value of the organization in the market – as they have evaluated from employees / ex-employees or the magazines / news.
3. Designation & job responsibilities as stated in the offer. A detailed job description attracts professionals.
4. Location – some prefer mega-cities, some small cities, even some prefer a location near home or at least having a good connectivity.
5. Future career prospect: Fresh as well as mid-senior level professionals usually prefer a company which provides the employees with frequent trainings for learning and updating technical or soft skills or has a sponsorship programme for higher studies. It generates an assurance to the potential employees that there is scope to learn & grow along time.
6. Any known person working in a higher position at the same organization – as often it makes the new person comfortable with the new environment.
When somebody joins an organization, for few days the above reasons suffice for them. But when the question is to keep them long term in an organization, the above reasons proves to be just not enough. When it comes to reality it’s all about executing the assigned responsibilities. Here our new employee faces the ‘real’ organization, or to be more specific, the ‘real’ particular work-segment (e.g. office or project) where he is fitted for now. He begins working and in the process of work lack of motivation starts fumigating inside him which is the biggest reason for attrition of high-performers.
Why happens so?
There is an old saying in the corporate – “People do not leave companies but the boss”. For the mid-senior to very-senior level not only the immediate boss but the approach of top management is equally important.
Everybody love to feel special, feel noted and feel important. Performing professionals on the job desires and deserves few more things. They never like to be micromanaged. Instead, they like to have independent responsibilities where they will be answerable for the final outcome and not for the process they follow or things they do everyday. This is the point where most of the bosses or the management makes the biggest mistake.
Most of the mediocre bosses without long-term vision, influenced by high demand & result-orientation of the company end up trying to micromanage the talented and performing professionals which makes things bitter & bitterer day-by-day. Most of such bosses do not invest time to recognize talents. In some cases, even if they recognizes the talents they are treated as average-performers instead of getting special, tailor-made grooming which not necessarily have to be announced form only.
Out-performers love independent responsibilities in terms of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goals. They like their performance being measured in terms of previously set targets, because they know that this is the way they will be able to showcase their performance and further remain out-performers. They want to be recognized as a part of the achievement and growth of the organization in that way. If there is no apt mechanism to measure the performance of an employee in terms of facts & figures – it will only deteriorate the motivation of a performing employee.
At the same time, high potential out-performers also desired to be listened & guided. These top performing band of employees like learning. Learning, not only through organized training or sponsored higher studies, but learning even through a candid talking with the boss or other senior employees or a quick advice on technical or managerial things, or sharing a relevant experience by the senior. It’s fully worthy of the time spent.
Lack of motivation and will to discontinue can be resulted from indifference of the management. The top band of performing employees love to take responsibilities, and it’s a tendency of management to pile up responsibilities to the person who wants to take it. So, it’s quite natural that the energetic, efficient employees accept much higher responsibilities and enjoy running the extra lap. Now, despite them being in the top-potential band it is quite possible to not being able to deliver 100% of the desired result of the extra assignment always. Even then, they may be achieving far more than that of the average employee. While they need support and proper guidance from the management, it is forgotten by the top officials about possible scarcity of required resources or any potential barrier for which somebody else is responsible, or the excess workload & responsibility taken by the employee, and the management or the boss starts blaming instead of encouraging and guiding them. At this point, the employee begins to be demoralized.
Lack of clear decision when sought from management – is another reason for demotivating the employees. Many bosses makes this mistake knowingly or unknowingly. Especially within such a mechanism when for the end result that employee will have to answer, it becomes heart-breaking for him.
Also, highly competitive market in almost all the industries has made the business targets ever-changing. Changing a target in the middle of an assessment period often makes employees frustrating and lowers their morale. However, with an efficient business planning this issue can be easily avoided.
All the big players of any industry have their dedicated Human Resource (HR) department who are mainly held responsible for employee related issues. The hard fact is that, although many of them really does well for improving the employee motivation through organized trainings, various activities & events, but certainly the major reasons behind attrition of high performing employees cannot be taken care by them only, as the direct reporting seniors and the top management are the largest stakeholders of this issue. When the question is to hold the out-performers, efforts made through ways other than improving the working conditions eventually proves to be clueless and definitely does not yield the intended result.