How to Reduce Attrition Rates

November 1, 2021


High attrition rates can result in increased business running costs, productivity losses, low team morale and even a damaged reputation. 

Recognising that your organisation is suffering from high attrition or that you have an issue keeping staff in certain roles is the first step towards fixing the issue. The next steps are a mix of understanding why people leave, optimising the evaluation and recruitment process and improving the communication during the hiring process. 

By taking these different steps and ideas into account, it’s possible to reduce attrition rates, aiming for a sweet spot of around 10% attrition across the company.


Assess The Current Situation

In order to go about reducing employee turnover, it’s crucial that you understand why people are leaving the business. 

This can be achieved through two main methods: one is to speak to existing staff to learn more about how attrition impacts them and how they view the situation, the other is to ensure you have a strong exit interview process in place. 

Using a combination of the two methods, you can begin to unpick why the attrition rate is high. 

Start by asking current employees (anonymously) if they think the organisation has enough quality, well-trained staff and what the effect of someone leaving is on them. 

As for the exit interviews, try to use these as a way to dig deeper into what’s making people move on - this is usually best carried out by an independent interviewer, so not the leaver’s line manager. 


Optimise Your Evaluation Process

Bad hires lead to higher attrition rates - either through people being let go as they can’t perform in the role or because people leave the company unsatisfied with the job and the company. 

To avoid this happening, make sure you’re hiring the right people using a Situational Judgement Test (SJT) or similar. 

An SJT is a psychometric assessment that presents applicants with role-specific scenarios that they might experience after joining the company, in order to gauge how they would respond when in these scenarios. 

With an SJT, you can evaluate:

  • Attitudes - how candidates think and feel, ensuring that this aligns with what you are  looking for
  • Behaviours - how staff will conduct themselves within the working environment
  • Values – do their values match those of your company?

As well as SJTs, consider getting someone involved in the recruitment process that already works in the role being interviewed for - this will help the hiring manager to understand better the qualities and values that are needed to succeed in the role. 


Improve Your Communication During The Recruitment Process

This isn’t so much about how you contact the candidates during the process (although that’s still important), it’s about what you communicate and how well you communicate the true nature of the job. 

While it’s great to provide the benefits of a role, don’t over embellish or paint a picture that simply isn’t true as it will only leave the eventual hires feeling unsatisfied or even feeling cheated if the role doesn’t match up to the description. 

It’s important to communicate both the favourable and unfavourable parts of the job, for example:

  • Favourable – reward schemes, holidays, benefits, culture
  • Unfavourable - fast-paced culture, tight deadlines, high pressure, long working hours

Even the best jobs have parts that are less favourable and that’s not something to hide, it’s just about balancing the good and the bad and allowing people to make an informed decision as to whether the role is right for them. 

Providing this detail will also improve the candidate pool as those that do apply are likely to be more interested in the role. 

As well as carefully considering how to communicate the actual role, think about how you talk about and describe the culture of the company. Does pizza and beer on a Friday actually translate to ‘everyone stays an extra couple of hours doing work before some food and drink are provided?’

What you see as a ‘fun’ company culture might not translate that way to others, so be honest and describe what it’s like to work at your company and keep in mind that it might not be for everyone!

By taking the steps above and learning more about why attrition happens, optimising the evaluation process and improving communication during the hiring process, you can begin to reduce your organisation’s attrition rate. 

Find out more about identifying attrition in your organisation and how to reduce it in our guide: The HR Guide to Employee Attrition (with Scorecard tool). 

The Employee Attrition Scorecard


Richard Anderson - Co-Founder

Passionate about people, software and assessment. Always wanting to learn more.