Employee Attrition: All You Need to Know

by Evil HR Lady on January 5, 2021

There are very few people who begin and end their careers in one company. Most people move on after a time, or the company forces them to move on with an involuntary termination. People leaving organizations seems like a quite straightforward matter, but there is a lot to unpack with employee attrition.

Even though the term is often used interchangeably with employee turnover, it’s not the same. Let’s take a look at what employee attrition is, its causes, how to calculate your attrition rates, and how to manage attrition at your organization.

What is employee attrition?
Employee attrition vs. employee turnover
What causes employee attrition?
How to calculate the attrition rate
How to prevent voluntary attrition
Over to you

To keep reading the whole article, click here: Employee Attrition: All You Need to Know


Managers often find it difficult to give clear, actionable feedback–especially when it’s negative. Almost everyone finds it difficult to take that feedback, but if you want to improve you need to listen. During the 2020 shutdowns, I managed to watch 16 seasons of Top Chef, and while my cooking hasn’t improved, my feedback–giving and receiving–have.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned (spoiler-free!):

1. You have room for improvement.

There wasn’t a single season in which one chef won all the challenges. There are around 25 challenges per season and the most one chef ever won was 13. It’s doubtful you don’t have room for improvement either–be willing to listen to feedback. 

2. Sometimes it’s all about the salt and pepper.

The judges often criticized chefs for too much or too little salt. Sometimes people do the difficult parts of the task very well, but leave out the basics and need to hear about it. Was the project done well and on time, but the email to the client full of grammatical errors? Was your data analysis brilliant but you came to the Zoom meeting with wet hair and an unmade bed in the background? Remember the little things matter.

3. Listen to the feedback given to others.

It’s clear that from Season Two on, the chef contestants know that “restaurant wars” is coming up. It’s also clear that they’ve watched the previous seasons’ restaurant wars and have heard the feedback given to previous contestants. Yet, they make the same mistakes–like not greeting the guests when they come in, not explaining dishes, not training the waitstaff, and tasting only the components of a dish, and not the dish as a whole. If you hear your boss giving your coworker feedback, pay attention, and apply that feedback should you be in the same situation.

4. Negative feedback doesn’t have to be mean.

Simon Cowell is famously rude when he judges. Gail Simmons is famously nice, as are Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio, and all the guest judges. But, this doesn’t stop them from giving clear, negative feedback. If you did a terrible job, you’ll know it. But, you’ll also know why, so you can fix it the next round (if you aren’t told to “pack your knives and go”).  

5. The judges respect the contestants and vice versa.

While there is plenty of drama among the contestants, it’s clear that they all respect the judges. It’s also clear that the judges have high expectations of the contestants and respect them–or they wouldn’t have made it onto the show. Because of this mutual respect, most of the contestants take negative feedback seriously and improve their skills. The few contestants who believe they are smarter than the judges never do well.

It’s possible that the judges are wrong. It’s possible that your boss is wrong. It’s okay to push back (Colicchio even says he likes it when they push back), but remember that your boss is still the boss and the judges are still the judges. Ignore them at your peril.


Happy New Year

by Evil HR Lady on January 1, 2021

We survived 2020! And I took real time off, which I haven’t done for all 2020. (I did keep reading things, just no work.) A bunch of stuff happened, though, so I wanted to catch you all up with some links:

From Jeff Nowak:

From Jon Hyman

From Hays


From the Department of Labor

Hopefully, some of this helps you get started in the New Year with some up to date info!

How You Can Use Envy to Help You Succeed

by Evil HR Lady on December 23, 2020

Envy is bad. It’s one of the seven deadly sins, along with its pals pride, greed, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. It’s super destructive if you just focus on what other people have.

But Amy Alkon flipped that on its head with her article in Psychology Today, The Power of Positive Envy. Alkon thinks that we’ve spent too long using the term envy when we mean jealousy. Jealousy rots us, while envy can motivate us.

If you see something that someone else has that you want–be it a career or a car–you can sit on your behind and whine about it, or you can change your behavior to work towards that. She writes:

[Evolutionary social psychologist Abraham “Bram”]Buunk and his team explain that there are actually two kinds of envy, malicious envy and benign envy. Each kind motivates people to try to shrink that “status gap” between themselves and others. The difference is in how. Benign envy pushes people to work harder in hopes of matching or beating the competition. Malicious envy is the nasty kind — the kind that motivates a person to loosen the ladder rungs, hoping to cause their golden-girl co-worker to topple to her (professional) death.

It’s the time of year when we set goals. If you look around and want something, you can set a goal and work toward it. But, keep in mind, it’s actual work.

I’ve had many people contact me over the years and ask how I manage to make a living as a freelancer. They want to write and make money as well. I give everyone the same advice:

  • Pick a genre, preferably an area you’re already an expert in.
  • Write five, 500-800 word posts.
  • Establish a website.
  • Then send me your posts and I’ll give you feedback.

Do you know how many have done this? One time, I had one person write write article. I’ve probably given this advice to 30 people (and now I give it to all of you for free). They all thought freelance writing was their key to working at home and raking in the cash. (Ha!)

But, they weren’t willing to do the work. They wanted someone to pay them before they even started writing. It doesn’t work that way. You need a portfolio. You need a website.

Sure, other people have done it without that. Someone has undoubtedly had the sky open over their head and the angel of freelance writing contracts appears and suddenly you’re writing for the New Yorker. But, the reality is, most of us work very hard to get where we are.

Other people ask how I became an HR Influencer. The answer is pretty much the same. Every single day I work. Every single day I read things about business and HR. Every single day. Even when I’m not writing, recording, or creating webinars, I’m scanning the business pages, reading a wide variety of information, and putting it in my brain. (I enjoy the information gathering, so I can happily be on vacation and reading my RSS feed. YMMV.)

If you want these things, use that envy in a postive light. Go out and get it. It’s a lot of work to accomplish any important goal, but you can do it.

And if you do want to become a freelance writer, do take my advice and I will give you feedback.

With 2020 almost over, HR and business leaders alike have been more worried about what would happen to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and the Families First Corona Response Act (FFCRA). Congress finally came through and agreed to a $900 billion stimulus package on Sunday night. It is expected to pass today.

While the bill’s wording is not yet available, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, published a press release that details some of the information within the bill.

Here’s what small business owners need to know.

To keep reading, click here: FFCRA and PPP Extended: Congress Agrees to a New $900 Billion deal

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued brief guidelines for how businesses can approach Covid-19 vaccinations with their employees today, December 16, 2020. While these guidelines will undoubtedly change as more information becomes available, the advice is consistent with previous vaccinations (like flu shots).

Jeff Nowak, an employment attorney with Littler says, 

“As we might have predicted, EEOC generally has given the green light to employers to require that their employees obtain a COVID-19 vaccine with potential exceptions for ADA and religious accommodations.  

Notably, employers who wish to exclude from the workplace those employees who refuse the vaccine will have to show that these individuals pose a direct threat.  In the middle of a pandemic, this hurdle is unlikely to be burdensome, but it’s hardly a free pass for employers.”

To break this down a little bit, here are some of the highlights from the new guidelines.

Click here to read: The EEOC Releases Guidelines on Mandatory Workplace Vaccinations

California attorney general Xavier Becerra says Amazon has been ignoring subpoenas about its health and safety plans. As such, he’s asked the courts to step in and force Amazon to comply. 

Amazon, for its part, says:

The bottom line is that we’re a leader in providing Covid-19 safety measures for our employees — we’ve invested billions of dollars in equipment and technology, including building onsite testing for employees and providing personal protective equipment. We encourage anyone to compare our speed and actions in this area to any other major employer.

Being a leader and producing documents are two very different things. Becerra says that he wants specific policies and procedures around sick time, cleaning, and infections within Amazon’s California staff. 

If the government comes knocking on your door, you can take Amazon’s route of not promptly producing the information, or you can make it easier on yourself and your wallet (remember, you’ll need to pay legal fees to fight this). Here’s how:

To keep reading, click here: California Subpoenas Amazon Over Its Covid Protocols. How to Avoid the Same Fate

Why HR (and Employee Relations) Equals Public Relations

by Evil HR Lady on December 16, 2020

HR is a public relations role.

Yes, I realize that most people disagree with me on this thing. They see PR as the people who send out press releases to try to get a new product promoted and to offer hapless executives as guests on podcasts. But, what is public relations other than dealing with the public?

Some directly and some indirectly.

Recruiters work with people outside the company every day. Remember, it’s not just about “talent acquisition” where you just pluck a new candidate off the shelf and slot him into the job as an accountant; it’s about representing the company as a place that this person would want to work. It’s about showing non-employees (AKA the “public”) that your company is a great place to work. It’s brand-building at its best!

But what about other HR jobs? An employee relations specialist or a business partner meets with internal people only. They don’t need to worry about what the public thinks, right?

To keep reading, click here: Why HR (and Employee Relations) Equals Public Relations

When Is It Okay to Call in Sick?

by Evil HR Lady on December 15, 2020

My parents instilled in me a work ethic that says you have to be dying before you skip work or school. I’m not alone.

Add to that, the lack of paid sick days that many Americans have and you have a lot of sick people at work. (And let’s talk about schools that give attendance awards–talk about a dumb thing to praise. “Congrats you either didn’t get sick or you came in and got your students and teachers sick! Good job!”)

Covid-19 changed a lot of mindsets. Suddenly not only should you stay home, but many people were under government-mandated quarantines. The Family First Corona Response Act required businesses with fewer than 500 people to pay people for quarantine time, and you know what happened? People stayed home when they were sick and 400 people per day were spared infection due to this act.

Hopefully, we’ve all learned from this, and will continue to stay home when we are sick. (FFCRA expires on December 31, and I have heard nothing about extensions.)

So when should you stay home from work? I ask because I saw this tweet today that said this: “It’s 5 am and I’m drinking tea because I have a migraine, my entire body is aching, and I’ve gotten maybe 3 hours of sleep. Can someone please tell me it’s ok to call out of work?”

Migraines are hellis but not contagious, but she should absolutely stay home from work. There is no point in being at work and not being able to work. So, here’s a list of when you should stay home from work:

  1. You have a migraine that leaves you unable to work. (Exception: Chronic migraines for which you need ADA accommodations, then you work per the accommodation.)
  2. You have a fever. The CDC defines a fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or 38 degrees celsius or feeling feverish and having a hot forehead. Got that? Your thermometer can say 99.8 and you can still be considered fevered. Stay home.
  3. You are vomiting or suffering from diarrhea. You may feel noble going into work, but no one wants you around when you are puking or suffering from other-end-ailment. Please, please, please stay home.
  4. You have other symptoms that indicate you are contagious–coughing, snot, etc. Or a contagious rash. Or any number of other things that your coworkers do not wish to get.
  5. You feel like crap, although not due to excessive alcohol consumption the night before.
  6. You’re overwhelmed emotionally and need a day to collect yourself. I truly think this is a legitimate use of sick time.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are other reasons you should stay home. If you have a serious health condition, please ask about an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act or leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.

If you’re a business owner, please, please, please, offer sick days. It’s much better for your business to have sick people at home.

Have you bought a present for your direct reports yet? While it’s not obligatory, it is rather traditional. However, it’s better to give nothing at all than it is to give the presents these bosses gave.

I asked people about the worst present they’ve ever received from a boss. Here are 30 of the worst.

  1. My boss bought me candles that smelled like men’s armpits. She apparently loved the smell.
  2. I seriously received a gift I had given her about 4 months earlier. She said,” I hope you like it! It reminded me of you!”
  3. Victoria’s Secret gift card. Thought maybe his wife did the shopping until he added the comment, (I had just gotten engaged), he knew there were certain things I needed to buy. 

To keep reading, click here: 30 Horrifying Presents Managers Actually Bought for Employees