The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges associated with employee retention and separation in the current environment. Human resource management has become an area of paramount importance within contemporary industries. Therefore, the amount and quality of corresponding research are equally on the increase. The professional community aims to analyze the profound mechanisms behind the topical issues within this field. Employee retention and separation are the topics that are actively discussed within this context. These matters are highly delicate yet crucial for modern organizations. They form a unity of balance, which determines the human capital capacity of a company, which, in turn, is a major factor of its sustainable development. However, many organizations struggle with maintaining the right balance, thus causing an increase in staff turnover. Such a situation is associated with lower levels of employee loyalty and commitment, as well as the overall poorer performance. This paper relies on up-to-date academic data, reviewing the issue in its contemporary state.
Description of the HRM Issue
How Does Employee Separation Compromise Retention within an Organization?
The field of human resource management (HRM) has become a matter of intense interest for researchers and professionals across the globe. In the current environment, this topic receives additional importance, as organizations have come to recognize the strategic importance of employee satisfaction and retention for a company’s success. According to Boon et al. (2019), “a shared consensus has developed that the focus should be on HR systems rather than individual HR practices” (p. 2498). This view is dictated by the perceived synergy of HRM practices within an organization. In other words, all components of the field demonstrate a degree of interconnection, meaning that underperforming in one area is likely to have repercussions in others. Among the elements of HRM practices, employee retention and separation possess special importance. These notions refer to delicate matters, which are to be handled with due care and discretion by the leadership.
The idea of employee separation is particularly delicate, and it may even be uncomfortable for some managers. This term refers to an employee leaving the organization and terminating their services for it (Noe et al., 2020). The causes of separation may vary depending on the context of the situation. In most cases, the separation may be voluntary, meaning that the person chooses to resign or retire upon their own will. Such decisions may be dictated by the individual’s health condition, age, or a simple presence of a better employment opportunity. On the other hand, some cases of employee separation are driven by other factors. In these cases, people are forced to resign due to layoffs, their own underperformance, or serious misconduct. The second scenario poses more difficulties for an organization, as it is associated with delicate matters. The personal interest in this issue is related to the importance of effective employee retention strategies. Such methods appear highly necessary in the current globalized environment where companies compete over qualified workers. The insight provided by the research will enable informed professional practices in the future.
The way in which the management handles employee separation exists in a strong connection to the concept of retention. First of all, the very fact of a person leaving the organization contributes to the staff turnover. In most cases, the leadership has to search for possible replacements and train new candidates. Such a situation inevitably impedes the workflow, as it takes time to incorporate new members of the teams into the general process. Second, the improper handling of separation sends alarming messages to the remaining employees. This situation may arise in the fallout of large-scale layoffs or scandalous resignations, revealing the unfavorable side of both parties. As a result, other employees may interpret the fact differently and begin the search for employment alternatives. Finally, the root of the HRM issue lies in the profound factors that cause employee separation in the first place. In this context, HRM specialists are required to analyze all instances, including voluntary cases. If workers are able to find a sufficient impetus to leave their current employer, there are likely to be internal issues that prompt them to do so.
Review of the HRM Issue
The current professional environment possesses valuable sources that provide insight into the nature of the discussed issue. Immaneni and Sailaja (2020) summarize the detrimental effect of employee turnover, which often stems from inadequate retention and separation. The discussion revolves around the shortage of skilled workers, which results from the turnover. Consequently, employers face considerable expenditures when they attempt to fill the gaps in the personnel. The processes of recruitment and subsequent training entail additional costs for organizations. Furthermore, until the training is completed, the shortage of personnel persists as new workers are unable to perform on par with their more experienced predecessors. These facts suggest the pivotal role of HRM structures in organizational performance. A similar perspective is discussed by Boon et al. (2019), who place HRM practices on the upper levels of positive performance hierarchy. According to the authors, the implementation of effective strategies is likely to be the key determinant of a company’s further success.
The costs of employee separation, as well as its impact on retention, fuel the academic discourse within the field. Frye et al. (2018) state that most organizations are aware of the negative effect of this phenomenon, trying to maintain their retention levels. Nevertheless, this awareness does not suffice, as the implemented measures should correspond with the magnitude of the problem. The authors focus on the profound issues that determine the increased likelihood of employee separation and corresponding issues with retention. Apart from the physical determinants of retention, such as age and health of the workers, Frye et al. (2018) emphasize the importance of the perceived value of a position. As such, the provided benefits of employment, addressing the workers’ needs positively correlate with retention. However, in order to acquire a complete understanding of such needs, HRM specialists are to provide employees with sufficient channels of communication that would ensure an effective exchange of information.
The exact enablers of better employee retention remain the focus of many studies. Choi (2019) researched the factors that reduced voluntary separation and concluded that “agencies with more teleworkers reported less voluntary turnover” (p. 470). In addition, the presence of full-time employment and growth opportunities, combined with better attention to equality in the workplace, were found to contribute to retention positively. SHRM (n.d.) shares a set of recommendations for HRM specialists willing to balance separation and retention. This list also emphasizes the importance of a respectful and ethical workplace atmosphere. The previously described ideas are supported by Olenski (2015) in his article for the Forbes Magazine. According to him, retention is born through a combination of positive work culture and perceived employee benefits. Therefore, it is possible to conclude that academic and professional experts remain in accord in regard to the discussed issue. From a personal standpoint, these ideas are incredibly valuable. The key to retention is in balance, as, for example, excellent benefits would not change much if the work environment is hostile.
Relation of the Issue to HRM Functions
The matter at hand is closely connected to key HRM functions. As per the HRM responsibilities discussed by Noe et al. (2020), one of the primary objectives of the field is to provide an organization with sufficient personnel for maintaining and increasing its growth rates. If there are issues with retention, the turnover will impede this function. Next, frequent voluntary separations indicate that the HRM department is unable to establish positive employee relations. Accordingly, this function requires a higher degree of professional attention in order to amend the situation. Finally, the support for the organization’s business strategy is another crucial component of the HRM. Decreased retention leads to turnover, which, in turn, is detrimental to the company’s strategic development. As such, HRM specialists should make a substantial effort to promote retention, thus creating favorable conditions for the organization’s sustainable growth.
Ultimately, today’s business environment is characterized by the increasing recognition of the HRM practice importance. The field possesses several topical issues, which have a profound negative impact, and the problem of the balance between separation and retention. Scholars and experts acknowledge the adverse effect of increased turnover on the strategic development of a company. Therefore, HRM specialists are urged to conduct in-depth analyses of the profound factors, which instigate the frequency of separation within their organizations. Acquiring a better understanding of the issue will promote the development of the field, allowing HRM departments to develop responsible practices. As a result, employees will benefit from better working conditions and atmosphere, whereas companies will find it easier to grow with decreased personnel turnover.
Boon, C., Den Hartog, D. N., & Lepac, D. P. (2019). A systematic review of human resource management systems and their measurement. Journal of Management, 45(6), 2498-2537. Web.
Choi, S. (2019). Flexible work arrangements and employee retention: A longitudinal analysis of the federal workforces. Public Personnel Management, 49(3), 470–495. Web.
Frye, A., Boomhower, C., Smith, M., Vitovsky, L., & Fabricant, S. (2018). Employee attrition: What makes an employee quit? SMU Data Science Review, 1(1), 1–28.
Immaneni, K. M., & Sailaja, V. N. (2020). A review of HR practices and employee retention in hospitality industry. European Journal of Molecular & Clinical Medicine, 7(7), 6698-6704. Web.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B. H., & Wright, P. M. (2020) Fundamentals of human resource management (8th ed.). McGraw Hill Education
Olenski, S. (2015). 7 tips to better employee retention. Forbes. Web.
SHRM. (n.d.). Managing for employee retention. Web.