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Why do employees leave?

Attrition. The Corporate version of "Lord Voldemort", he who must not be named!

Nikhil was a hardworking employee with real potential. Two years at a great organisation with a good track record, appreciated by his peers, managers and sub-ordinates as well. He wasn't your average job hopper for he put in his heart and soul into his projects and saw them through.

One fine day, his manager receives a mail which read -

"Dear Sir,

I hereby resign from my position from your esteemed organisation. It was not an easy decision to make and I am thankful for all the guidance and support you gave me. Kindly relieve me of my duties in a months' notice, I shall provide all required assistance for a smooth handover.

Yours Sincerely,


Thus starts the tyranny of yet another exit case where the letter needs to be accepted, conveyed to HR, discussions are made, there's probing, evaluation and all the havoc for one piece in the puzzle decided to drop off the table.

Now you might say, "Oh! He probably got a higher pay" or maybe a better opportunity. Perhaps higher studies? Personal Reasons? Work-life balance? Office politics? Could even be stress!

If we looked at it from a different perspective, we'd be disappointed. So much work must have gone into grooming Nikhil into what he's evolved to today, such a lot of training, mentoring, coaching, recognition and motivation. Not to mention the costs incurred to hire him and now to find his replacement and wait till the new individual settles down.

While these factors are all open to probability, let me ask you something. Would you feel there's just one rock solid reason for him to quit? Do you think he took this decision overnight?

In most cases such as that of Nikhil, I'm afraid not. This employee invested two years of his life into the organisation that definitely did mold him to be a better, more skilled professional. We also need to take into considerations the most human element, his 'emotions' that went into play here. Working there, putting innumerable hours contributed to his growth as much as it did to the growth of the Company.

Nikhil's decision to quit must have shown some signs long before he sent that mail. Be it his performance, engagement level, interests or attitude, those tell-tale signs were surely missed or swept under the rug.

Each exit is an entire case-study in itself. It has its own uniqueness and the triggers are not singular in nature. And when we examine multiple cases, unique as they are, patterns start to form.

These patterns in turn, provide us with the area that we, as an organisation need to work on and address. While the reasons for separations could be exhaustive, we'll find the pain area if we know where to look.

Attrition is a major concern for most organisations today, irrespective of the industry. The problem is, there is no quick fix. We need to dig deep and get our hands dirty.

As the saying goes, better to douse a spark than a forest fire! '


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