December 19, 2017 | Sabrina Clay, CCWP
We can all agree that employee attrition is a natural course of business, people come and go for various reasons. Everyone is familiar with layoffs and it’s expected that nobody will be replaced, at least for a while. But when someone leaves an organization through “traditional” methods such as resignation or termination, it is widely anticipated the exiting employee will be replaced. The question here is what happens when the replacement does not occur? Nobody talks about it, yet so many experience this issue.
In these situations, employees are now tasked with doing more with less. They usually end up working longer hours to overcome the additional burden which in some cases results in overtime pay. Additional stress can impede productivity thereby impacting what actually gets accomplished. The cost savings anticipated by leadership doesn’t necessarily occur. What will, and does, occur is a significant impact on the company culture. Culture is the personality of the company, it defines the environment, ethics, value, and expectations, and sets the standard in which people work. It is a very powerful component within an organization. Culture becomes negatively impacted when:
With loyalty fading, “A-Players” will eventually start looking for a better place to work. The additional blow to productivity caused by this can create a tailspin that is difficult to recover from. But it does not have to be this way. Anne M. Mulcahy, the former CEO of Xerox, said it best:
“Employees are a company's greatest asset - they're your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company's mission”.
The long-term success of any company depends heavily upon the quality of its workers and worker loyalty. Employees create, develop and support a company’s services and products, and frequently serve as the voice of a company. It’s my opinion a company owes it to their hard-working workforce to ensure solid communication during times of change. It’s amazing how resilient a workforce can be if they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
Companies can demonstrate their loyalty to employees by offering specific acknowledgment to employee contributions and showing appreciation for hard work. By planning for attrition and allowing employees to be a part of the plan, companies are underscoring a positive culture, creating loyalty and uplifting their brand.