The nature of employee attrition

Occupational life varies in every aspect. While it was once the general tendency to retire from the same company, today the career journey is not just a single long way. There are now very few people who start and finish their careers in a single company. The reasons for leaving a job also vary. Resignation, dismissal, departure due to illness or retirement, and death… Employee attrition can be confused with the concept of employee turnover when translated into Turkish.  In this article, let’s examine the issue of employee attrition in depth.

Types of employee attrition

Attrition is the departure of employees from the organization for any reason -voluntary or involuntary-, including resignation, termination, and reluctance to return work after maternity or sick leaves, death or retirement.

The voluntary departure of an employee may be due to resigning for a new job – or a new life – or moving to a different country or city, and is the most common type of attrition in work life.

When the company decides to part ways with an employee, it is defined as a non-voluntary termination. The reasons include organisational restructuring, and breaking the agreement with the employee due to lack of performance. The company may not fill this position with a new employee, depending on the situation. Sometimes the position disappears completely.

The sudden departure of your employees, and sometimes as a group, can cause serious problems. But sometimes it is necessary to part ways with an employee. In order for a company to survive financially, it may need to eliminate a number of positions. In this case, even if the dismissal is negative for the employee, it is considered positive and necessary for the company.


Attrition rate and reasons for leaving

When, for one reason or another, the attrition rate of your company’s employees increases, you will of course face many challenges. The departure of an employee can have a wide range of effects, from the disruption of the continuity of customer relations to the lack of organisational knowledge. Of course, training gaps, communication problems and the difficulties of recruitment processes must also be taken into account.

For some specific roles, positions may take longer to fill than expected, and this length of time will cause disruptions in the flow of work.

By delaying the filling of such positions, you can risk causing a cascade of problems.  First of all, positions those remain vacant for a long time become increasingly difficult to fill. More importantly, you can cause burnout among your other team members who are trying to fill that gap. While deliberately keeping the position vacant within the scope of your savings measures, you should calculate these risks and future costs correctly.


Remember to focus on the rest

Losing employees always comes at a cost, whether it’s a surprise or a voluntary redundancy. If you lay off your sales team because your product sales have fallen too low, you must be prepared for a longer period of low sales.

On the other hand, the processes of searching, finding, placing and training that begin after the change of employees are more costly than they seem. Training employees in different disciplines within the company can be a good solution.


Ask employees

You do not know the number of employees who are likely to quit. You assume that burnout syndrome does not occur in your company. You do not know the plight of those who try to bear the burden of missing positions. You try to forecast their demands through general interviews or surveys that you conduct once a year.

Be prepared for surprises and unwanted consequences.


Sixty-five percent of employees say their organization isn’t proactively addressing burnout, and 49 percent say their organization doesn’t have a culture that allows them to balance their personal and professional priorities.

More than 60% of employees are encountering challenges with the volume of work they are managing, 55% seek more professional development opportunities, and 38% want more recognition for their work. (Source: Employee Attrition Trends HR Leaders Must Watch to Mitigate Turnover – Gartner 2022)