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  The Herman Trend Alert

November 30, 2005

Attrition is an International Problem

Employers who have difficulty retaining their valued employees often dismiss the problem as being unavoidable or an anomaly in their industry. In a futile attempt to find excuses, many companies cite whatever comparative numbers they can discover to justify their losses. They point the fingers at other employers instead of addressing their own shortcomings. Time is running out. Employee turnover is creating problems across industries and across international boundaries.

Developed countries have sent a significant number of jobs to India, assuming that an abundance of workers were dedicated, productive, hard-working, and stable. India’s information technology industry is experiencing a high attrition rate. The loss of experienced people and the cost of replacing them with fresh graduates---and training them---are driving up personnel costs. Higher costs mean a reduced competitive advantage against countries exporting jobs.

An Indian employer with routine work is taking some unusual steps, reports “The Financial Express.” Since the job itself is tiresome, to keep up the spirits of the employees, the company has allowed employees the opportunity to pursue interests such as music which has led employees to set up their own band. At a convocation-like graduation ceremony and party, employees who complete the training and induction program get certificates.

When the organization found that a major cause for attrition was the influence of parents, parents of existing and prospective employees have been positively engaged. Parents are encouraged to attend the graduation ceremony. Securing the consent of parents before newcomers to join the organization has helped reduce their role in attrition.

China has a similar problem. Even with population in the millions, the country is challenged with high turnover among educated and skilled workers. As the introduction of technology outpaces availability of an appropriately trained labor force, this situation will become worse.

In South Africa, employee retention causes operations difficulties and higher costs in industries as diverse as information technology and gold mining. Employers in Australia face a tightening employment market and workers who want better bosses. Northern Ireland fights a brain drain. Competition for workers even causes problems for companies competing for business in Nepal.


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