7 Effective Steps to Manage Workforce Attrition

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As organizations strive to maintain a productive and engaged work environment, workforce attrition can pose many challenges. It can result in increased costs, loss of productivity, and disruption to team dynamics. However, with proper management, attrition can be minimized, and its impact mitigated. In this article, we will explore the concept of attrition, discuss the four types of attrition, and provide tips on how to manage employee attrition effectively.

What is workforce attrition?

Workforce attrition, also known as employee turnover, refers to the natural process of employees leaving an organization over time. It can occur for various reasons, such as retirement, voluntary resignation, involuntary resignation, or internal attrition where employees move to other positions within the same organization.

The impact of workforce attrition on businesses can be quite costly. According to a study, employers may end up spending as much as 33% of an employee’s annual salary due to turnover, considering the time required for training and onboarding new hires. Additionally, hiring and accommodating inexperienced staff can result in increased resource allocation and higher wage expenses compared to experienced personnel. Therefore, employers who aim to foster loyalty among their staff and minimize turnover rates within the organization find workforce attrition to be a significant concern.

What are the 4 types of workforce attrition?

Understanding the different types of workforce attrition can help organizations identify the underlying reasons for employee departures and tailor their management strategies accordingly. Here are the four common types of workforce attrition:

4 Types of Attrition
  • Voluntary Attrition

    This type of attrition occurs when employees choose to leave the organization on their own accord. It can happen due to various reasons, such as finding better career opportunities, dissatisfaction with job roles or organizational culture, personal reasons, or work-life balance issues. Voluntary attrition is often the most challenging to manage, as employees are willingly leaving the organization, and it may be harder to predict or prevent.

  • Involuntary Attrition

    Involuntary attrition happens when employees are asked to leave the organization due to factors such as poor performance, violation of organizational policies, restructuring, or downsizing. Involuntary attrition is usually within the control of the organization and can be managed by ensuring fair and transparent performance management processes, effective communication, and providing support to affected employees.

  • Retirement Attrition

    Retirement attrition occurs when employees reach the age of retirement and choose to leave the workforce. It is a natural form of attrition and may not always be within the control of the organization. Organizations can manage retirement attrition by planning for succession and ensuring effective knowledge transfer from retiring employees to their successors.

  • Internal Attrition

    Internal attrition happens when employees leave their current roles but continue working for the same organization in a different role. This could be due to factors such as career advancement, job rotation, or internal transfers. Organizations can manage internal attrition by providing opportunities for career growth, regular communication and feedback, and facilitating internal mobility.

What are the causes of workforce attrition?

Workforce attrition can be caused by various factors, and organizations need to identify and address them to effectively manage attrition. Some common causes of workforce attrition include:

  1. Lack of career growth opportunities: Employees often seek career growth and development opportunities as they progress in their careers. If an organization does not provide clear career paths, opportunities for skill development, and advancement prospects, employees may choose to leave in search of better options elsewhere.
  2. Poor work-life balance: Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial for employee well-being and job satisfaction. Organizations that do not promote work-life balance or have unrealistic workload expectations may face higher attrition rates as employees may feel overwhelmed and burnt out.
  3. Inadequate compensation and benefits: Compensation and benefits are important factors that influence employee retention. If employees feel that their compensation is not competitive or if their benefits package does not meet their needs, they may be more likely to leave the organization for better opportunities.
  4. Lack of recognition and appreciation: Employees who feel undervalued and unappreciated are more likely to seek validation and recognition elsewhere. Organizations that do not have effective recognition programs or fail to appreciate and acknowledge the contributions of their employees may experience higher attrition rates.
  5. Poor leadership and management: Leadership and management play a crucial role in employee retention. Employees who do not have supportive, fair, and effective leadership may feel disengaged, unproductive, and unfulfilled in their roles, leading to attrition.
  6. Limited work flexibility: In today’s fast-paced and dynamic work environment, employees value flexibility in their work arrangements. Organizations that do not offer flexible work options, such as remote work or flexible hours, may face higher attrition rates as employees seek more flexible options elsewhere.
  7. Lack of employee engagement and involvement: Employees who do not feel engaged, involved, and connected with their work and the organization may become disinterested and disengaged, leading to attrition. Organizations that do not prioritize employee engagement and involvement may struggle with higher attrition rates.

How to Manage Employee Attrition

The key to managing workforce attrition successfully is understanding why it’s happening in your workplace and taking proactive steps to reduce it. Businesses should start by assessing the reasons why attrition might be occurring – such as job dissatisfaction or a lack of understanding of job roles and expectations.

It’s also important to evaluate attrition’s impact on your business – such as reduced productivity, lost institutional knowledge, higher recruitment costs, and bad press from disgruntled employees. Once you have identified the causes of attrition and its impact, you can develop strategies to reduce it.

7 Tips for Managing Workforce Attrition

Managing employee attrition requires a proactive and strategic approach. Here are some key strategies organizations can implement to manage attrition effectively:

7 Tips for Managing Attrition

Conduct Exit Interviews

Exit interviews provide an opportunity to gather feedback from departing employees about their reasons for leaving the organization. This feedback can help identify patterns or trends and provide insights into areas that need improvement. Organizations should conduct exit interviews in a confidential and non-judgmental manner to encourage honest feedback.

Improve Employee Engagement

Engaged employees are more likely to be committed to their organization and less likely to leave. Organizations should focus on creating a positive work environment, providing opportunities for professional growth and development, recognizing and rewarding employee achievements, and promoting work-life balance. Regular feedback and communication can also help in improving employee engagement.

Learn more about Albert, the employee engagement platform that helps managers build engaged teams, create great cultures, and make strategic business decisions.

Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Compensation and benefits play a crucial role in attracting and retaining employees. Organizations should conduct regular market research to ensure that their compensation and benefits packages are competitive with industry standards. This includes offering fair salaries, performance-based incentives, health and wellness benefits, retirement plans, and other perks that are valued by employees. Ensuring that employees feel fairly compensated for their work can reduce the likelihood of them seeking employment elsewhere.

Provide Opportunities for Career Growth

Employees are more likely to stay with an organization if they see opportunities for career advancement. Organizations should invest in employee development programs, provide training and mentoring, and create a clear career progression plan. Employees should feel that their skills and expertise are valued and that they have a future within the organization.

Foster a Positive Organizational Culture

Organizational culture plays a crucial role in attracting and retaining employees. Organizations should cultivate a positive work environment where employees feel supported, respected, and included. This includes promoting open communication, recognizing and rewarding employee contributions, and promoting a healthy work-life balance. Organizations should also have clear policies and procedures in place to address issues such as discrimination, harassment, and conflict resolution to create a safe and inclusive workplace.

Enhance Leadership and Management Skills

The role of leadership and management cannot be overstated in managing attrition. Leaders and managers should be trained in effective communication, conflict resolution, and employee engagement strategies. They should be accessible and approachable to their team members, and provide regular feedback and recognition for their contributions. A positive relationship between employees and their leaders can significantly impact their job satisfaction and retention.

Read more about leadership training, and why you need one right now.

Show Appreciation for Employees

Recognizing and rewarding employees for a job well done is one of the best ways to keep them engaged and motivated. It’s important to show employees that their efforts are valued and appreciated by giving out bonuses, awarding yearly performance awards, or simply saying “thank you” when they do something great.

Discover the benefits of employee recognition in the workplace.


Employee attrition is a complex challenge that organizations face, but with proactive measures and strategic management, it can be effectively managed. By understanding the types of attrition, implementing effective strategies to manage attrition, and addressing the underlying causes, organizations can reduce attrition rates and retain their valuable talent.


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