If left unchecked, employee attrition can impact your brand, culture, and revenue. Here’s how you can start turning things around, take the right actions, and ensure business resilience.

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”
– Peter Drucker

It’s one of the most complex nightmares that project-based businesses, be it engineering, architecture, legal, IT services, or creative agency verticals have in common – a steady influx of resignation mails. When left unchecked, voluntary attrition, in specialized industries that rely on talent and experienced consultants, can have several repercussions on the business, such as employee morale, brand perception, revenue losses, and the potential loss of clients.

So, the natural question to address would be: What can we do to curb employee churn? It’s important to nip the problem in the bud early so that the organization can focus on scaling.

Strategize to enable effective change management – answer the right questions

Before a business strategizes to curb attrition, it’s important to consider that the talent marketplace is drastically different today. To quote the iconic consultant, Peter Drucker, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” You need to understand what’s working and what’s broken when it comes to your processes, culture, and people.

In the U.S., voluntary en masse resignations of unprecedented proportions has touched almost 48 million people last year, signaling very high levels of job dissatisfaction. The figures for the U.K., Australia and France indicate similar, though milder, trends.

Stakeholders at project-based businesses must be prepared to create a multi-faceted approach that examines attrition in their organization. Ask the difficult questions:

  1. Are our hires the right fit to begin with?
  2. Are there clear career progression paths and opportunities to develop skills?
  3. Is our culture conducive to growth?
  4. Were there lapses in management that could have caused resignations?
  5. Could we have forecasted discontent?
  6. Are employees being adequately recognized and appreciated for their work?
  7. How do we offer flexibility while managing outcomes?
  8. Can we help moderate their workload with the application of the right software?

When you have identified the flaws in your employee experience by answering these questions, you can begin to bring the right teams together to ideate on finding solutions that can bridge the gaps.

Technology as an enabler for a better employee experience 

While addressing these questions, across all touchpoints of the talent strategy, there’s ample space for improving the employee experience – be it with onboarding, forecasting the skills needed for future projects, or building insight-driven policies that support all employees. Technology can be a huge enabler here, and with the strategized use of solutions, businesses can enhance their talent engagement by leaps and bounds.

As employee retention tactics go, project-based companies would be best served by relying heavily on their business technology to help employees with their tasks – this should be table stakes. For instance, be it AI-powered assistants, the ability to track flexible work patterns, and functionalities for payroll export tables, our evergreen HCM solution powers stakeholders across the business. Deploying such technologies enables employees to focus on billable work, innovate, and learn new skills.

When you go about making shifts to engage employees, just remember, as with any change management initiative, if at first you don’t succeed, try to adapt, innovate, and reimagine what milestones to aim for, while constantly tracking results.

Investments in people – a gift that keeps on giving 

While there are a host of reasons for why employees quit, ultimately people want to work at “good companies” that take care of them and invest in their growth. They want to feel supported, and many businesses do make waves for doing this well. For instance, the financial services company, Charles Schwab, offers complimentary 1:1 financial consultation to their own employees – that’s a clear-cut case of using existing organizational knowledge to build equity for people. We have been taking a similar approach at sa.global – rolling out our empower assistant solution to all our employees. This intelligent assistant plug-in helps in simplifying routine tasks such as searching for information, sending out notifications, and is an app under the broader empower umbrella.

A Deloitte survey forecasts that half of the new engineers from the 2021 and 2022 batches will quit before their first work anniversary.

The bottom line is, if you are a project-based business dealing with attrition, the only wrong move would be to not do anything. Deal with it in the initial stages and help your business move the needle by taking the time to understand the challenges your people are currently facing. Address them by improving processes or using tools and communicate this effectively to all people. To learn more about how technology can improve outcomes, check out the links below.

1.   https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/charles-schwab-1-5-companies-are-rocking-employee-retention-2016-09-02

2.  Fortune India: Business News, Strategy, Finance and Corporate Insight

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