Our study of over 700 HR professionals across all the industry segments in India provides a snapshot of the attrition and retention climate in India.
‘Retention and Attrition management was ranked first by HR professionals as the most challenging, among the various workforce management processes that they are charged with. A majority of the respondents (65%) consider this to be an area of shared accountability with other functional heads.
It appeared that for every level in the organization, there were different sets of reasons for attrition most often requiring strategies for retention. Our study findings establish very clearly that “one-size-fits-all” strategies are not likely to work and organizations need to address attrition and retention at different levels through different interventions. These findings support the literature, which suggests that individuals seek different rewards from the job and the organization, as they gather experience and grow in their jobs and careers. The challenge for most organizations was to identify the causal factors leading to attrition at various levels and evolve targeted retention strategies as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The research suggests that the core reason people join organizations is different from those that compel them to leave.
It is interesting to note that there is a disconnect between the reasons for attrition and the push factors identified by the respondents in our research. As an example, compensation does not figure in the reasons for attrition for the junior and middle level managers, yet features prominently in the list of push factors for both levels (with the reverse being true for the senior level managers). It would seem that the reasons for attrition are based on the respondents’ actual learning from exit interviews with those who have left their companies. This is in line with what is reported by global literature on attrition. On the other hand, the push factors seem to be reported based on what is generally believed by executives, to be the reasons people leave companies, not surprisingly, compensation features prominently.
Again, it might seem interesting that the retention strategies employed by HR professionals are not in consonance with the pull factors listed. For example, for junior level executives, compensation is listed as the number one pull factor, yet listed as the number five retention strategy. This might have to do with the fact that HR executives may often be constrained by organizational senior management philosophy or policy or budgetary realities.
A look at the retention strategies from an overall perspective indicate that HR professionals believe that it is through providing people opportunity to grow and develop that you can retain talent.
It is also noticed that employee engagement is a leading retention strategy employed in India. It is worth noting here that this is currently being seen as the number one retention strategy globally, especially in the United States.
Our data provides ample evidence that work culture, supervisor’s management style and profile of people in the company are, clearly, key factors that should be paid attention to. It is clear that compensation alone is not going to achieve the goal of retention.