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10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Attrition

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

People are leaving your organization. You have a trend to arrest. Here are 10 ideas for you to implement now to stop attrition and build employee engagement.

Employees are exiting organizations, jumping to new ones, and for a variety of reasons. I'm noting similarities between why employees are changing organizations, such as the desire to work remotely, the desire to not work remotely, career building opportunities, compensation hikes, tricky bosses or toxic environments. I've noted other employee reasons that don't fit any of those categories - they've just decided it's time for a change. As HR and Talent Development Pros, we are all facing the same challenge - how to stop the attrition trend and keep people engaged and motivated.

My first thought is that engagement is not something you turn on and off overnight. There's no easy button, or someone would be rich with "Easy Button Engagement" technology. It takes time to build culture, trust and an environment where employees thrive. Then, before hives break out and panic sets in, my logical brain kicks in to remind me that there are absolutely immediate things we can do to lean in to employees and we can begin today. Before you also get a nasty case of stress-induced hives, let's discuss and get started with a few techniques.

If you're still working to understand where employees are exiting your organization or need to shore up on why they are leaving, review this article: Employee Retention Trouble? Get a Handle on Why People are Leaving the Organization.

Alright, time to put on our Talent Development coaching hat and dig in.

#1 Trend That's Not Happening - Leader & Employee Conversations

The #1 issue that underlies employees departing, and really, most engagement issues: leaders who are not having regular touchpoints with their employees.

Employee engagement is driven by an excellent culture - I do not want us to divert attention from building a solid corporate culture that builds trust and where employees thrive. However, a great culture is reinforced only so much as leaders also engage their employees. They must lean in and talk with their employees. The end.

two men talking in a business setting

At the heart of great employee engagement are leaders that engage genuinely with their employees. Remember the leadership philosophy of managing by walking around? It's a thing, and it's a needed thing right now.

One immediate action you can take is coaching the leaders you support on the importance of genuine conversation with their teams. Engage them 1:1. Set up a coffee meeting or bring them coffee. Show them the trends and how you can help.

Leadership coaching is #1 on 10 things you can do today to address attrition. Let's talk about the other nine.

10 Things to Arrest Attrition Trends Today

1. Coach leadership Coach your leaders on the importance of talking with and spending time with their employees. Specifically, here are two things they will likely need help with:

  1. Getting over the initial awkwardness of talking authentically with employees

  2. Leaning in to the hard conversations

2. Introduce stay conversations Stay conversations are a kind of exit interview but before an employee decides to move her cheese. Here's an article from ATD on stay conversations. They are easy to implement. Host a call with your leaders, give them the basics and then check-in on how it's going. Bam.

3. Make career development options readily available You likely have a host of career development tools you've already implemented and they are lying unused. Revitalize those IDPs (individual development plans), host Career Development Week, revive a lunch & learn or host a podcast with top leaders talking about their top tips or career journeys. You are full of ideas + see what you already have that you can put to new use.

4. Offer leadership training Hone in on management basics, circulate a class on difficult conversations. What about a leadership chat via video conference to share advice and talk through situations? Let's assume managers don't know how to engage their employees and teach them.

5. Communicate, communicate, over-communicate Employees want to know what's going on. They want to hear how the company is doing, new products on the horizon, the latest business strategy, new employees joining, awards won. Feeling in the know creates trust and camaraderie.

6. Address compensation Yes, of course compensation is on the list. It's a primary tactic recruiters are using when reaching out to your employees. I mean, I'm expecting my own recruiters to use that tactic for candidates we are sourcing. Partner with compensation to ensure that your organization is staying on top of market data for current employees and roles.

7. Get training & development options going Everyone loves to learn. What about highlighting a suite of elearning classes from the LMS that people haven't accessed in a while? Like with those career development options, use what you already have. Repurpose, reuse, recycle.

8. Celebrate everything I'm big on celebrating - birthdays, work anniversaries, project delivery, new customers, project launches, Fridays. If you have little to celebrate, make up something. Bring laughter; have some fun. It's cheap to host a quick celebration, it boosts morale and doesn't take time away from productivity.

9. Offer flexible work arrangements It's time to figure out flexible work options if your organization hasn't yet. It's one of the top reasons people say they are leaving a company currently. Some employees want more time working remotely. Some want more time in the office. The constant is that everyone wants flexibility to choose when they are in the office and when they work elsewhere.

10. Promote culture There are great things about your culture. Now is the time to remind people. Reinforce activities, events or perspectives that really help the culture shine.

Today is a good day to begin a focus on retention techniques. I've gotten you started with ten ideas. I'm sure you have others. Which one or two will you engage this week?


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