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June 2016
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The Problem of Cyclical Attrition
Friday, June 17, 2016

As the modern workplace shifts, turnover rates have begun to skyrocket. Gone are the days of employees sticking with one organization their entire career, and in the new office environment, it’s rare that a worker stays on board for more than five years. However, even though this trend is evolving, it doesn’t mean organizations have figured out a way to make turnover less costly. Frontline-driven industries are hit particularly hard. One recent study found that annual turnover rates of 100 percent or more are not uncommon in these types of jobs. Essentially, year-over-year, many organizations must replace the equivalent of their entire workforce or more. When HR managers take into account the fact that it costs approximately six to nine months of an employee’s wage or salary to find and train a replacement, it becomes clear that high turnover rates and attrition are major problems. In most cases, attrition is cyclical—when employees leave, their work is piled onto the remaining employees without extra compensation—requiring new employees to “pick up the slack.” These new employees feel overworked, and may in turn quit, continuing the cycle. 

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