Factors Causing Attrition

These data are drawn from research by Professor M. Smylie, U. of I. Chicago. As you review this information, ask yourself, “Would mentoring be able to positively impact this factor and reduce attrition?”

Reasons for leaving

1. Lack of peer and management support
2. Isolation from other adults (45% report no contact, 32% report rare contact)
3. The frustration of a trail and error method of learning
4. Lack of career development opportunities, such as professional growth or increased responsibilities or challenges
5. Lack of recognition for excellence and improvement
6. Frustration with the “dissatisfiers” (Herzberg) such as low salary & inadequate materials and tools needed to do the work well.

The data suggest that:
The staff with the highest ability and potential to make a significant contribution are the least likely to be retained.

SO… the staff that are most likely to succeed are the ones most likely to leave. Conversely, the ones least likely to make a significant contribution are the ones most likely to stay.

NOT good news ! This is news that concerned leaders and proactive organizations are turning to mentoring to address because EFFECTIVE mentoring addresses in some way and to varying extents, EVERY factor causing attrition. Here’s how:

1. Lack of peer and management support
> Mentoring provides peer support. It also can improve the supervision and staff development skills of managers.

2. Isolation from other adults
> Mentoring creates the structure and discipline (time) for purposeful, positive interaction.

3. The frustration of a trail and error method of learning
> Mentoring accelerates learning and improvement by eliminating trial and error learning. It places the experience and wisdom of senior staff where junior staff can access and benefit from it.

4. Lack of career development opportunities, such as professional growth or increased responsibilities or challenges
> Mentoring itself provides a means for more senior staff to assume greater leadership, a higher level or responsibility, greater contribution, and more visibility.

5. Lack of recognition for excellence and improvement
> Selection for the role of Mentor IS a recognition of how much a person has to give, how much they know and can contribute, and the person’s value to the organization, others, and profession.

6. Frustration with the “dissatisfiers” (Herzberg) such as low salary & inadequate materials and tools needed to do the work well.
> Mentoring can help people increase their skills and performance, and that leads to increased promotions and higher recognition and salaries. Further, a mentor advocates for the protege, finds resources that are needed, and ensures that the protege’s needs, expecially for work, are met.

Mentoring may NOT be the answer for EVERY problem, but it certainly IS the answer to the need for improved retention and performnce.