3 Ways to Minimize Project Turnover

Keeping projects on track amid turnover can be challenging. Here are three ways to keep projects moving.

With companies experiencing high employee turnover rates, there is pressure to keep projects on track. Ensuring teams continue to deliver value amid disruption is not always easy. In a recent Projectified® podcast, Keeping Projects on Track Amid High Employee Turnover, project leaders shared how their teams navigate staff attrition. 

Here are three tips to help project professionals steer projects forward through employee turnover.

Sharing knowledge can keep team members committed.

Project leaders must continue to execute projects through staff turnover. But there are steps project managers and organizations can take to mitigate risk. One way is through sharing knowledge. This can help keep a project moving, even if an employee leaves the team. Kierstin Gray, program director at product design company Argodesign, Brooklyn, New York, USA, explained why.

“Part of the idea of agile is that you’re sharing knowledge, and there is shared ownership of what the outcome might be. And when you start to look at that from a project management standpoint, maybe that means that a project manager who is a part of a team of 10 is, each week, reporting to their colleagues about what exactly that experience has been and what [the] pros and cons might be. So that way, if another person steps into that role, they have a sense of what’s going on. When a team knows that the information is being shared openly and freely across numerous people, or even folks that they may not see every single day in a scrum, there’s a sense of contentment with the situation because they know that even if the characters may change, the outcome is still going to be more or less the same. We all tend to do better when we understand what we’re working toward or understand conceptually how our individual actions might affect the whole.”

Clarify projects up front.

Communication, the top power skill cited in the PMI Pulse of the Profession® 2023 report, can keep projects from failing, according to Vitor Amaral, CTO of Bitz, a digital wallet within Banco Bradesco, São Paulo, Brazil.

“It has been more necessary than it used to be to make sure that the requirements of the projects are really clarified and explained up front. We have this idea that because we are now moving everything to agile that we do not need very specific requirements. That’s one of the main reasons for failure in the projects. And now that we are [working] remotely, most of the time not seeing everybody physically, it’s really important to make sure that the requirements are being detailed in a very good way. We need to get back to our written skills to make sure that anyone can check that later, can really understand the epics, the stories, the tasks, conditions, the criteria and so on. Let’s make sure that the requirements are really, really, really well-written, well-detailed and contain everything that we need.” 

One-on-one meetings are important.

The act of managers meeting one-on-one with team members to check in and discuss issues may seem routine; however, this type of engagement can go a long way and help with attrition. Amaral explained how.

“One thing that I talked to the managers [about] is to have one-on-one [meetings] with the team members so they can really understand how they’re feeling, if they’re having any trouble, if they have any problem, and understanding how they can help. We are trying to make sure that we have these one-on-ones to discuss things that are really related to the work, to the project, and also have time to have conversations that are not all related to work. We’re seeing the team is really engaging more when we are doing this.”

To learn more ways to combat employee turnover, listen to more tips from Gray and Amaral in the Projectified® episode, Keeping Projects on Track Amid High Employee Turnover


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Headshots of Kierstin Gray and Vitor Amaral on orange background with PMI logo