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Editorial Team
17 Jan 2019

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The Employee Turnover Abyss – A CHRO’s Playbook in A Short Blog

Employee Churn is a great threat to organizations in an ultra-competitive era. This brings forth major concerns for CHROs, for whom a motivated and talented employee retained is a disaster averted. 

Churn in the talent pool, whether constant or sudden, is more than a mere statistic to be normalized. And when a successful and talented employee walks out of the door no one feels the pain as much as the CHRO.  

Sure, exit interviews are conducted, remedial measures are taken, and the world is a better place again, until, the next exit. Loop. Repeat. The wake-up call keeps getting put off for later. One of the most prominent, and thought-provoking exits in recent memory was the very public exit of Swiss banking giant Julius Baer’s CEO, Boris Collardi. Not only did he leave the company to join the rival Pictet Group, his exit added further insult to injury as the company’s stock plummeted by a massive 5% on the bourses. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. CEO exits are seldom quiet. They go out with a bang and mostly with a media frenzy. The real problem is, however, somewhere else. At the frontlines of your business battle. 

What of your best performers? The star salesman whom the customers adore? The business manager who is doted upon by the team? The personnel who actually drive the enterprise growth at the grassroots level? We can all agree that it may not hurt the macros of the organization, but it wreaks sheer havoc on the micros.

Pardon the Zenspeak, but the answer lies within.  

It is the employee experience, something that talent management pundits are publishing endless spiels on, not quite the Gershwin pieces to the Board’s ears, who are primarily concerned with topline growth and stock prices. How many does it right? And consistently? 

Enter the Age of Workforce Continuity Planning.  

Workforce Continuity is not a contingency plan. It’s aptly camouflaged in plain sight, yet the machinations are intense enough for it to be a regular talent management process in the organization. Cutting to the chase, here’s how to get it right, every single time: 

  Begin with an Internal Audit 

Nothing serves to set the stage for action better than a comprehensive and acute prognosis. This would include segregating the employees into their functions and tasks, followed by a classification of their priorities in several organization functions. Metrics like their term in the organization and their compensation benchmarking against other competitor companies also play a crucial role in the assessment. It is important to note here that every employee, across the organizational hierarchy, be included in the audit.  

Assess for Flight Risk 

This is perhaps the most delicate stage of the entire program. Metrics about social media activity, work/life balance, rapport with coworkers and managers, and overall satisfaction are measured. It’s all not just questionnaires and online surveys but your data team would also have a role to play in building predictive models to zero-in on past employee exit data, their feedback, and the works. Sales and Tech are usually considered the most susceptible departments. However, this is a broad, general viewpoint. Onwards to the next, then.

  Regularize Employee Feedback for Preemptive Remedial Actions 

Listen. And Listen Well. Grievance Redressals don’t just cut it anymore. Proactively seek out what your employees consider the best and worst part of their jobs, whether they are prone to a sense of stagnation in their roles, and how learning and development, lateral rotation of job roles, compensation and benefits tweaks and a whole host of solutions can be customized and applied to those at risk. This should ideally lay the foundation for all your employee L&D, wellness and engagement programs, and also for your compensation plans for the subsequent quarters.  

The distilled Workforce Continuation Program should ideally lay each step for your entire team to follow meticulously. Include feedback gathering, even as your program is being deployed. On a centralized platform, or on your HRMS, with the dashboards in place, you, the CHRO, are in the driver’s seat. Employment Retention a la Digitally transformed enterprise. 

But, what of the customary Succession Planning

Build a talent pipeline for employees at flight risk 

Fairly obvious, knowledge and technology will only take you so far. Get ahead of the situation with identifying technical and soft skills from within your talent pool. Remember the ‘three times more expensive to hire from outside’ adage. Build a solid pipeline, and ensure parallel lines of communication prevail between all external stakeholders and the potential successor. 

And when the above is done, you should be resting back on your armchair, saying, “voila!” 

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