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Ms. Revathi,

I appreciate you and all those wonderful people who have also offered you their time and thoughts for the a query you've raised.

I'm sorry, I can't give you a direct reply, as one doesn't have the real data to offer solutions of the "cuff." There is no on "chair" that fits all sizes of people.

Read this through with "patience" and you will get a lot of information. In the end you also have a lot of questions that you need to ask of yourself and answer. if you think you can do this and then share your thoughts, it's quite passible that you many get solutions to stem the "rot of attrition" in your growing company which seems to be already offering some exciting inducements to make people get engaged.

A little bit of history - before we try solving the mystery

Attrition is an age old phenomena. I've had several opportunities in my career especially in IT dating back to 1987. Companies as everyone knows starts off small, and so it's called "start-up." The period that I am talking about didn't pose serious competition domestically, but to earn a break-through into companies in the US and the lure to earn foreign exchange and $ was the challenge. People would do everything to earn this break. And some companies were there at the right time, with the right people doing the right thing and so there is very little doubt as to why they succeeded. The rush for talent was there but not so much as it increased world over nearer to the Y2K and immediately after till the emergence of the DOT.COM boom and subsequently the burst of the "bubble" and then the down turn. Industry was more cautious in their approach in all aspects - recruitment, finance etc., and naturally therefore people were beginning to pick and choose people whom they could bet on rely on going forward. On the other side, technical people also started picking and choosing - some went dream companies, technical growth, some were bent on only on-site assignments etc., so the cat-and-mouse game started.

Sadly though it is still prevalent, but the struggle for start-up's have been more or less the same. You need to sell the company a lot more harder than say you have to sell a better known company, where you need to concentrate in this sequence - only on the role, technology, growth and compensation (the prospect would like to hear this though the prospects priority and sequence may be the difference). After a round or two of talks this deal is concluded and engagement gets going, assured for at least three years, which is when the resource would might plan the next move. If the company has assignments that can take people overseas on on-site assignments then this mantra is used for extending the careers.

On the other side "start-up" may only have to rely on the "Integrity" and reputation of the promoters working on the latest technologies along with some solid techies handling the leadership positions, and also having some projects in the pipeline, gets the company going. If one gets this combination then it is the effort of everyone, not alone the HR to get more people excited and interested in joining the company to work for. And mind you everyone who comes to meet you as a prospect will give the start-up company a feeling that he/she is doing the company a favor by risking his/her career in joining a relatively unknown company, despite having a market for himself/herself. This is a reality with which you have to live with it and contend, I see no escape. Once the resource decides to come on-board the first motivator is - compensation, rest all are not major factors. Exceptions are thee in this regard, but they are very few. This doesn't end here, you need to be consistent with your policy statements, employee relations policies, etc., to keep the system moving which means you in HR is often under scrutiny by the promoters and the management on the one side and on the other the employees' enjoy the upper hand as they only need to raise the voice to see that the leadership is alerted. Without going into too many details things will get aligned in a manner that HR will have to play the "subjugated" role, taking instructions all the way, and may be also deemed as not so good, not so effective or worst to be deemed as "useless." In fact, people are also known to make a sweeping comment that "Oh! these HR People are all like that, hopeless people, who don't understand the reality etc.,"

What then might be the prime reasons why people leave

Some of the prime reasons why people leave is their inability to handle stress, monotonous work, company policies, lack of career growth, problems with senior people, no on-site possibilities, not enough money, not enough increments, unfair/biased treatment, too much of micro-management, rigid rules and regulations, lack of trust on the management, leadership and may be colleagues too, inconsistent interpretation of policies, the list can go on... There can be multiple reasons for leaving whether it's a well known company or a start-up.

What then are the "Drivers of Engagement" specifically to smaller start-up companies

It's important that the company work in laser sharp/latest technologies, if there is a "bouquet of the latest technologies" even better for instance Mobile - Android, IPhone, windows /JEE/.Net/PHP/Oracle, and with clients who can assure reasonably good quantity of work, ensuring that no one gets sidelined on to the bench.

Regular on the job training programs be it on technology/managerial/leadership, behavioral or whatever, depending on the need of the company to meet the present demand or preparing for the future. All of this should enable the employee make his/her profile seeming good and rich.

The other aspects that follow

Market equivalent salary, without too many deductions but with a bucketful of benefits

Sizably good increments annually after review

Regular feedback and dialogue with superiors

Recognition and Rewards on a regular basis to keep them engaged

These are aspects that you will want them to understand and know but the employees might not think so

Employee perceptions of job importance

Employee clarity of job expectations

Career advancement/improvement opportunities

Quality of working relationships with peers, superiors, and subordinates

Perceptions of the ethos and values of the organization

Effective Internal Employee Communications

If these are the realities then, now for the encouraging factors which is what you need to find out how it is in your present organization

1. Are you suitably qualified with a relevant degree in the subject, and are experienced enough to stand up and talk for yourself

2. Do you enjoy the support of the promoters, leadership and the management

3. Are you sufficiently equipped with the right resources - to handle your responsibility - even basic things like a neat work place, a system with the right software, adequate support systems in terms of administration, accounts and house-keeping (or are you one in all)

4. How do people perceive you as an individual

5. How good an influencer are you

6. Are you well read - especially on contemporary managements/industry subjects etc

7. Does the office have a professional look and atmosphere

8. What is the management-style - participatory or what else

9 Is the company engaged in the latest technologies and do they have the right people in the right places, doing the right thing for the right customers

10. What would the USP (Unique Selling Point) of your organization be?

11. What would be your EVP (Employee Value Proposition) to attract new talent

12. What do the current employees think about the organization and what would they want it to be like.

13. Were you able to get any useful information from any of the employees leaving the company, so that you can examine what can be done to address the issue.

14. Lastly are you confident of hanging on despite the carnage around you.

15. Also ask yourself whether you will be able to do his alone or you would want some professional HR Advisors from external sources, and whether the management would be open to seeking advise from specialist's to redeem the future of the company.

That's it for now.

Best wishes and warm regards,

TSK. Raman


From India, Hyderabad

@ Kishore
First and foremost, I suggest you change your outllook. Becoz i could make the world's most beautiful resume but if the person doesn't reflect the resume then it is absolutely of no use... We are discussing a rather important HR issue and in the middle you want us to review your resume and suggest changes ? and you expect to make a successful career in HR ?.. WOW!!!
If you cannot decide where, when and how to intervene, my friend , you can never succeed in strategic HR... maybe in administrative HR but definitely not in strategic HR.
Sorry to be sounding rude and losing my cool ( must be getting old..:-) )
Navneet Chandra

From India, Delhi

First of all, there is no fool-proof method to stop attrition ! At the best you can 'try' to reduce attrition. Whatever tricks you employ, such initiatives and measures will last for a few months. Employees will then ask, what is next waiting to happen... Organisation can always try to reduce the attrition by creating a very good working environment, work culture, ethical practices and not by offering too many freebies. There is nothing called free lunch and more & more freebies will only erode company's margins. For how long can an organisation go on offering so many things. Everything has a monetary value ultimately.
Keep offering freebies a little at a time but simultaneously create an excellent working environment. Employees look for more of this than free carrots !
Best wishes

From India

Both the posts of Mr Navneet are really valuable readings. Ofcourse, Mr Raman has also made us well aware, about the situation, in his simple and elaborative language.
It is correct as stated by many contributors that, looking at the organisaton size, chances of retaining employees, especially youngsters, is very difficult. Whatever amenities you provide to them, and make them feel happy, each and every human being wants to take a jump for betterment, and after few months experience in your company, if he is selected at little bigger organization, he will certainly quit.
My suggestion : Select an employee, in a higher age group, say 40+. He may be VRS person, or a victim of shut-down company, or his present employer has transferred him to some unwanted location, etc. These senior people usually try to remain at one place and give matured and sincere services.

From India, Mumbai


While I appreciate your in-puts, I'd also like to add a thing about the mind-set of the Promoters/Entrepreneurs/Technopreneurs, and the people at the top in leadership positions, and this is coming out of hard/rock, and raw experience.

Everyone - be it technical/marketing/finance or whatever, think that they are the one's who are ultimately responsible for the growth/profitability/sustenance of the company and take it that it is their prerogative give directions/suggestions/advice to the one's handling HR.

To be brutally frank, in the initial stages in every organization I held a responsible position, I applied cautious restraint in letting go my thoughts. I would simply say, "thanks your in-puts, I'll give it a thought and get back." Invariably I would do a deep study and tell them about the fall-outs or breaches in what they suggested, and suggest ways in which this could be addressed. Slowly and surely things panned out well and when I did make them realize the value I could add I started putting forth my thoughts in no uncertain terms. When you do so you should be careful as you might not get a buy-in straight away, but you need to make your thoughts, be willing to receive new in-puts, and then amend suitably to get the organization work like a team for a common purpose. Speak just that much, and observe silence in order to listen to what others are saying and then move ahead. You gain this only through experience and getting beaten at first, but you must have a lot of confidence in your self, and tremendous belief in your potential. You should also be lucky enough to have an energetic team which will go all out to implement plans and programs.

Professionals in HR must think of themselves as Strategists going forward.

Warm regards,

TSK. Raman


From India, Hyderabad

Thank you Abhay for your kind comments.

Bulls-eye, Raman! The single biggest challenge in working with management (start-ups more than matured organizations) is the management buy in and it doesn't help matters when every one feels that HR is the easiest thing to do. Any one and everyone can do it...:-) .

So you WILL have a management who feel they know HR better than you and what ever they wish can be achieved ( after all, you are supposed to be Aladdin's Genie in the guise of HR..:-) ) but what ever you say will be an unnecessary expenditure. So the trick, as shared by Raman, is to be neutral. Listen, observe, research, analyze and propose. Show them the value and you will get your support.

Just a note of caution to every HR working in a small / start up organization - The size of the operations will create an environment where by you will be prone to becoming either a administrative HR person whereby you will keep doing the same mundane stuff day in and out OR you will become the mouthpiece of the management / promoter. Both these conditions are not where you should find yourself in.

It will purely be on your skills and knowledge that people within your (extended) organization including management, will approach you with problems and for solutions. You need to always be proactive, approachable and enterprising to ensure that you create your own identity and are respected for the same. That's when you can truly consider yourself a successful HR professional..just like Raman.;-)


Navneet Chandra

From India, Delhi


Like the several I have met in this forum who make a query and then become "dormant." It's neither a judgment nor an accusation, a feeling that lingers around hopelessly, helplessly.


I would suggest

One give your best and trying changing the situation for the better

Two quit and look for comfort zones to park yourself.

You'll be ill-advised to dwell in a comfort zone. This is a thought that I have been talking about to a lot many people for a long time now. It's about seeking a change of the situation that we are in.

A change which we conveniently postpone blaming everything but ourselves. We need a through changes in the way manage ourselves - we need to think, act and utilize our potential.

A change leadership thinking as well and action which supports their talk.

A change in environment which only sees things monetarily.

C = Communicate, Clearly, Consistently, openly and often

H = Hear to what all others are saying and help folks through the transition

A = Assess and your core values/principles/process and align it with your mission in life

N = Non-negotiable action - navigate from the "Where you are" to the "where you want to be"

G = Get everything you planned, into movement

E = Educate, excite, empower and engage employees

It's incredibly hard for anyone of us on this planet to predict the future with any degree of certainty. But I am convinced that with failures and success, reading, experience, thinking, change and effort you can create the future you desire.

What we need to do is to be changing, be it ourselves or organizations, is a visit on the future.

V = Visualize the much talked of aspect of self-leadership which is desired and acquire it

I = Invest in a learning and development culture

S = Seriously assess the current situation prevailing around you

I = Influence, incremental but continuous improvement-based living

T = Take the bull by the horns, take on hard and difficult task, target areas for betterment/improvement

A = And act on a plans aligned to the aims for a

F = Fruitful

U = Ultimate

T = Totally

U = Unique

R = Rewarding

E = Engagement

With a positive visit a future you desire, can be create with a high voltage energy to make it happen in your organization.

From India, Hyderabad

Hi to all my seniors ,
Thank you so much for sharing your views and I am really feeling happy for getting lot of seniors .
Mr.Raman sir mentioned that I am in dormant state , not like that sir , sorry for that
Due to some power problem , I couldn't read your views , today only I am reading your views as well as due to my capability it takes some more time to understand every seniors views , sorry for that seniors , because before that I replied without without understood of every views depth .
After understood of every views , I will surely ask my queries and my thoughts
Thank you to everybody

From India, Chennai

Ms. Revathi,

Immense thanks for your response however, I'm sorry if I hurt you, it wasn't my intent at all, You need special mention an a "big pat" of your back for this act, but the fact is there have been many before this who didn't have the courtesy to even acknowledge the efforts. I'll feel small when someone apologizes to me. In fact, I might share a small tip with you, "never get into a point that you have to seek an apology from anyone, if it's not needed" however, if you have really erred, never hesitate even a single moment to tender an apology to even a kid.

I can empathize with you when you do mention, "your views as well as due to my capability it takes some more time to understand every seniors views , sorry for that seniors , because before that I replied without it being able to understand of every views depth."

Do not get discouraged at all. You will learn and grow to become a "utility professional," just apply yourself and make it a point to "learn something new everyday." Click into CITEHR regularly, you'll probably get to know a lot many things without too much of a strain.

Yes it could be our limitation too to put the message across in even more simpler terms. The attempt is always to make it easy to understand, and digest. I know I am more profuse when I begin to elaborate a point that I wish to make. Let me assure you that you can get in touch with me on any clarifications or explanation that you might need. Just remember it's not good to remain "ignorant" as it hinders growth.

Best wishes.

From India, Hyderabad

Hi Revathi, welcome to HR Family and please find my inputs below
1.I suggest you to conduct the Employee satisfaction surveys first and try to find out the reason, then try to work on it on a step by step process
2.Provide more benefits to the senior employees if management is ok with that
3.Employee engagement - divide the employees into groups and arrange some fun activities to interact with each other which helps for a good bond, co-ordination
4.You can name the teams with inspiring words/names to motivate
5.Rewards & Recognition
6.Company outings
5.Try to know the reason in EXIT interviews process when the employee is leaving and try to retain him by telling what HR policies you have implemented to satisfy the employee (if he is a good resource)

From India, Hyderabad
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