The term attrition refers to the number of staff or employees leaving the workforce of a company over a period of time. Leaving a company can be in many ways like, resignation, retirement or simply by leaving the company without serving any notice period. The formula to calculate attrition is pretty straightforward:

(Number of employees left during a period of time) / (Average number of employees for the period) X 100

Now the average headcount of employees is calculated by:

(Starting headcount of a period+ending headcount of the period) / 2


It is generally observed that attrition remains high in the BPO sector compared to other industries. Research conducted by ContactBabel found that one of five contact centers in the UK faces an attrition rate of over 30%. Keeping these levels low is a major challenge for a contact center.


What may be the reasons for high attrition?

There are five types of employee attrition that you need to know of:

1. Retirement

If two or three people have retired from your company this year, this is statistically too small an employee group to count under attrition. However, if a sizable chunk of your workforce retires at the same time, this can cause attrition.

If it is due to retirement shouldn’t be swept under the rug your senior professionals may choose to retire early or become independent consultants due to factors other than age.

2. Voluntary

This is the most common type, where employees decide to simply quit their jobs. There can be many reasons for voluntary attrition (more on that later) and most of them are in your control.

You should proactively try to curb voluntary attrition among high-value talent, as this can bring down your productivity over time. For example, if a company sees its marketing experts moving out of different business units, its a clear cause for concern.

3. Involuntary

In this scenario, it is the company and not the employee that initiates the exit. For example, the employee may have shown instances of misconduct in the workplace a common reason for involuntary attrition. Structural reasons could also cause attrition. Mergers and acquisitions are often followed by a wave of involuntary attrition.

4. Internal

Here, employees are quitting their jobs in one department to join another department. In some cases, internal attrition is desirable, as it routes talent towards more profitable areas. It also ensures better employee-job fitment.

But if a specific department has witnessed a high rate of attrition one year, it merits an investigation. Is there something missing in the job? Is the manager inadequately skilled? These are questions that HR needs to ask and find answers to.

5. Demographic-specific

This is a significant concern for progressive companies trying to build an equal-opportunities workplace. Demographic-specific attrition means that employees from a single group, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, veterans, or older professionals are leaving the company in droves.

You need to immediately deploy employee surveys to identify the root cause of demographics-based attrition before it affects your workplace culture. A positive culture can be the antidote to high attrition rates.

Again, managers and team leaders of a contact center can take sessions about career growth by showcasing their own example and benefits to serve a company for a longer time with employees.


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