What makes your best people stay?


Exit interviews have long been considered the key to ascertaining the root causes of employee attrition and companies spend a lot of time and a fair bit of money on them. There are several articles online about how to structure these interviews to get to the real reasons why employees quit and then use the data to come up with solutions to reduce attrition levels.

Companies can access many valuable insights from these data set, but as such, a dependence on just the exit interview is a flawed approach for several reasons.

Exit interviews only consider the attrition side of things. From any company’s perspective, the reasons people choose to stay should be a far more meaningful metric than why they decide to leave. An organisation committed to retaining employees must first take the trouble to find out why their longest serving employees stay. And by shining a light on the long term, companies can make the success repeatable.

Exit interview questions also automatically assume a connection between the absence of job satisfaction and attrition. By most industry standards, lower attrition rates imply happy employees and therefore, high productivity. But this isn’t necessarily true. Gone are the days when an employee started and ended their career with the same company. Tenures have gotten shorter and shorter with each new generation. The current average hovers at around four years – each move a stepping stone to a better position, better paycheque, better benefits. There are several reasons employees quit, and job satisfaction is only one of them.

That said, having an employee stay for the long term is entirely pointless unless you understand why they choose to stay. A low attrition rate could be a result of inertia, cyclical market conditions, a tough job market or even an excellent healthcare and benefits plan, none of which are necessarily indicative of happy or productive employees. A sketchy approach to maintaining a low attrition rate can be disadvantageous to the company and employees.

At Fabtech too, we have our share of attrition. While we do pay attention to the feedback our existing employees give us, we also choose to pay close attention to the ones that stay. By understanding their reasons, we hope to make their experiences a repeatable culture. Here are some of the reasons why some of our best employees have chosen to stay with Fabtech.

Their work has purpose and meaning

When your employees’ purpose is aligned with organisational purpose, the work they do has meaning. They feel part of something special and bigger than themselves.

For every one of the 14 years, I have worked here, I have never known us to give up. When it comes to delivering for our customers, there is no limit to our creativity and passion and it all ties in with our mission to save lives.
Zahir Shaikh, Assistant Vice President, International Projects

They can contribute

When best employees clearly understand the company’s mission and vision, they are challenged to rise above and give their best. The organisation becomes a place where they can focus on doing great work and contributing to their own and the company’s growth.

I believe that every action we take contributes to our purpose of saving lives by making medicines accessible and affordable all over the world. I’ve been at Fabtech for over 17 years and have seen the company grow from one small office to the transnational superstar we are today, and this is only the beginning.
Sangita Vishwakarma, Assistant Manager Purchase

They are recognised and appreciated

Motivated employees do their best every single day, whether or not someone is watching. They will mentor others and step up when needed without being asked. When their work and contributions are recognised and appreciated, especially by leaders, it builds a powerful bond between employees and the company.

Fabtech is a family in the truest sense of the word. There is trust and mutual respect and a willingness to let people grow beyond their background. I have learned many things in the 17 years I have been here that I in turn pass on to my newer colleagues.
Bhalchandra Kanayalkar, Office Assistant, Kaman Factory

They are encouraged and mentored

A culture of learning and genuine encouragement brings out the best in people. Having someone to reach out to for advice makes them feel like they have a safety net and frees them up to better themselves.

14 years ago, I started as an office assistant in Fabtech and today I manage travel arrangements for the whole company. My supervisor, Melitta Fernandes, has always inspired and encouraged me. I have learnt so much from her and owe my career to her.
Ganesh Phatak, Travel Desk

They trust their leaders

As with any long-term relationship, trust is key. As Simon Sinek says in Leaders Eat Last, leaders need to be role models employees want to emulate. Your best employees stay because they know their leaders will always look out for them and have their best interests at heart.

Fabtech has an excellent work environment. They care about what happens to me in my personal life. In my 12 years in the company, my HODs have always supported me and given me opportunities I’m sure I would never have been given in other companies.
Ajit Surve, Assistant – Logistics

Your best employees will stay because of what surrounds them, encourages them, develops them, drives them, cares for them and rewards them.

How do you retain your best employees? Tell us in the comments.