Tales of man’s expulsion from paradise reached my ears, but in stark, disrobed shame, I departed from your sphere.
These immortal lines penned by Mirza Ghalib sum up employees’ exit from an organization most poignantly. Most organizations become very active to retain certain employees after they put down their papers, and to put it in a jocular manner, these employees perhaps get noticed during their notice period; however, very few organizations take the root cause of such departures seriously and try to formulate remedial measures. Sometimes people join and leave silently, and the management does not pay any heed.
Let us not forget that organizations cannot run on their own. It is run by people who have somatic and cognitive responses to the way they are treated within the workspace. The word organization is derived from the Greek ‘organon,’ which means organ. From a biological perspective, an organ is defined as a collection of tissues networked in a particular way to serve a specific function. In terms of music, the word organ signifies a keyboard instrument consisting of several pipe divisions to create tones, which produce a symphonic effect when played. These definitions, coming from diverse disciplines, point to one distinctive commonality, which is arriving at a collective goal. No organ can function in isolation. There needs to be harmony in diversity. And people in any organization can work harmoniously when diversity is given its due respect.
There is a saying that ‘people don’t leave organizations; they leave their managers.’ True, but the most appropriate deduction could be that people leave because of the feeling they experience at the hands of people in authority. The common assumption is that people leave their jobs for money, workplace environment, desired career growth, etc. Well, all of this is true at the surface level, but at a deeper level, it is a very intense, unpleasant feeling that compels one to quit. Whenever a significant, unpleasant emotional event happens, what an individual experiences is a particular feeling associated with the experience of that event.
At its core, there is a feeling that triggers a thought, which in turn triggers a behaviour. This behaviour, in the case of an unresourceful thought, often culminates in a reaction and leads one to take action, which is finding an exit from the space that is no longer considered to contribute to the individual’s safety, comfort, or growth.
Let us turn our attention to the reasons for attrition. One of the reasons for which employees decide to move on is the perception of limited career growth within their current organization. When individuals feel that their professional development has hit a plateau, they are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. Companies that fail to invest in motivating employees through training programs, mentorship, and clear career advancement paths may find themselves grappling with higher attrition rates.
Money matters, and inadequate compensation remains a significant driver of attrition. When employees perceive that their skills and contributions are not adequately rewarded, they become more susceptible to exploring job opportunities that offer better financial packages. Competitive salary structures, performance bonuses, and comprehensive benefits play a pivotal role in retaining efficient and resourceful employees.
In the modern workplace, the importance of a healthy work-life balance cannot be overstated. Employees increasingly prioritize jobs that allow them to maintain equilibrium between their professional and personal lives. Long working hours, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of flexibility can lead to burnout, prompting individuals to seek alternative employment that offers a better balance. In fact, individuals work hard for their families, and when excessive workload forces them to neglect their family, the stress levels are bound to increase. Within no time, stress slips into the dark realms of distress, and in order to de-stress, people move on. Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the work environment. When employees feel disconnected from their leaders or perceive a lack of transparency, trust erodes and attrition rates rise.
When leaders within an organization choose control over compassion, the chances of attrition shoot up. Leaders need to know what drives their team members. Not everyone’s motivational drive is the same. It is wise to know that one size does not fit all. Money may not be every employee’s primary motivation. Some may get motivated by recognition and appreciation. The most important thing that any manager needs to remember is that humans are being and not resources. An individual can become what he aspires to be with the kind of motivation that is most appropriate to him. The culture within an organization can either be a driving force or a deterrent when it comes to retaining talent. An unhealthy or toxic work culture, characterized by discrimination, harassment, or a lack of inclusivity, can be a significant factor in attrition. Employees are more likely to leave an organization where they feel undervalued or where their well-being is compromised. Recognition and feedback are powerful motivators. Employees who feel their hard work and achievements go unnoticed may become disengaged and demotivated. Regular feedback, acknowledgment of accomplishments, and a culture of appreciation can go a long way in retaining employees and boosting morale. In a rapidly evolving job market, employees often seek roles that offer long-term stability and security. Organizations that fail to provide a clear vision for the future and a sense of job stability may witness higher attrition rates. Career stability, encompassing both individual job security and the stability of the organization, is a crucial factor in employee retention. And last but definitely not least is when what is preached is not practiced. Employees are more likely to stay with an organization when they align with its values and mission. If there is a perceived disconnect between personal values and those of the organization, employees may feel a lack of purpose and seek employment elsewhere. All the above factors are reasons for attrition at a surface level only, but at the very heart of it there is either a feeling of insecurity, discomfort, frustration, dejection, humiliation, or suffocation. If the leaders at the top put in that extra effort to know their internal customers well, not only from their ability or efficiency quotient but also from what makes them happy, then most organizations can become healthy and a happy place to work.
By Dr. Srabani Basu – HOD Dept. of Literature and Languages- SRM University -AP.