The Organisational Psychotherapy Solution for Staff Attrition

The Organisational Psychotherapy Solution for Staff Attrition

What with The Great Resignation, record levels of disengagement in the workforce, and a decade and more of low productivity, management knows that losing staff – a.k.a. “attrition”, “turnover”, or “churn” – is a sure and quick route to disaster.

Why Do Folks Quit?

All the data (surveys, research, etc.) points to folks leaving their jobs because:

  • Feeling unappreciated.
  • Burn out.
  • Absence of flexible work options. 
  • Unable to work when and when best suits their needs.
  • Stress (distress).
  • Difficult relationships with colleagues _ and especially, management.
  • Corporate culture.
  • Bullshit jobs (lack of purpose, especially shared or common purpose).
  • Being bored.
  • Limited career development a.k.a. a feeling of being “stuck in a rut”.
  • Violence.
  • Lack of fairness.
  • (For folks in Collaborative Knowledge Work organisations) feeling like “order takers” or factory workers.

The Single Root Cause

All the above reasons are just aspects of one root cause: folks quit when their needs are not being met (or not even attended to).

Different folks have different needs, so any broad brush approach is unlikely to bear fruit. Better to talk with people individually about their specific needs, and how well – or more often, poorly – the organisation is doing in attending to those needs.

This is not an approach that is even possible, absent organisation-wide support for it.

The Organisational Psychotherapy Assist

Organisational Psychotherapy can assist in reducing employee attrition levels in a number of ways:

  • By helping your organisation build a culture that prioritises and actively attends to folks’ needs (see also: The Antimatter Principle).
  • By surfacing your organisation’s existing collective assumptions and beliefs – assumptions and beliefs which most typically lead to some or all of the above-listed reasons for folks leaving.
  • By identifying the cognitive biases which lead to folks feeling their needs are of no consequence.
  • By convincing folks that your organisation takes them and their needs seriously, and that you are determined to build an environment in which they can do their best work (see also: Harter & Buckingham, 2016). 
  • By adopting well-established organisational practices, best suited to CKW.
  • By awareness of Management Monstrosities and how to avoid them

– Bob

Further Reading

Harter, J., Buckingham, M. & Gallup Organization (2016). First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. Gallup Press.

Marshall, R.W. (2021). Memeology: Surfacing And Reflecting On The Organisation’s Collective Assumptions And Beliefs. [online] Falling Blossoms. Available at: [Accessed 11 Feb. 2022].

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