Sanjeev Kotnala: Mass Exodus: Are you the next victim?

13 May,2015

By Sanjeev Kotnala


It is neither the first nor is the last time that the news of collective exodus of employees from an advertising agency is being reported. Just like an earthquake, it is unpredictable but bound to happen if the built-up pressure fails to find a release. The signs of stress building need an HR and or a management seismologist to read them right. I am not referring to an exodus of employees when the ship is sinking or when a company/category is collapsing.


Mass exodus of employees availing a unique and newly developing opportunity is never an overnight phenomenon. There is always pressure building with time. Be it the senior taking loyal dependable foot-soldiers to new organisation, a new brand/ product being launched in a category and employees being poached. Whatever may be the timing or reason, it is tough to negate that the main cause is the organisation turning blind eye to the emerging signals and stress building in the employees. Such an event reflects a long continued negligence in nurturing and managing desires and ambition of the talent.


Ultimately, a set of employees are willing to gamble with the new opportunity and mostly it has not much to do with money.


It is not a new environment where there is lack of emotional connect with the organisation. The average age of employment within an organisation is ever-decreasing. It’s a time that organisations need to have an employee exodus strategy.


But, before that  organisations must attempt to emotionally connect with the employees. That requires the organisation to ensure interesting work profile, being transparent in its management evauations, develop a  leadership that employees look up to and  believe in, keep the top-management politics restrained, stop rumours and provide autonomy to the employees in their role.  A restructuring and slimming workforce lead to extra pressure for foot-soliders without commensurative freedom, life balance and monetary insecurities. The employees  seeing a new opportunity emerging with an erstwhile respected leader within the organisation is a sure case of exodus possibility.


The mass exodus can be a boon or a curse, but in the short run the organisation pays the price in terms of over-stressed workforce, lower productivity, low moral and corridor rumours that pull it further down. Still the biggest cause is not reading the potential exodus signals like enhanced rumours of people planning to leave, aggressive competition moving in, fake performance reviews, low performance-benefit linkages, lack of internal promotion and changes of executive leadership.


As an employee, if you are always hiring externally, lacking charismatic leadership, enforcing rigid working hours, neglecting training, not helping employees becoming future proof, lacking transparency in communicating future possibilities, ignoring recognition, not nurturing loyalty, have hostile and demanaing work envirounment,  over micro managed work processes, not leading with example, blowing bloom news or saying no to merit compensation, you are laying the foundation for an eventual mass exodus.


Time you stop and evaluate your organisation and see what the situation is and at the same time try evolving a strategy to mitigate the risk as well as to firm up your post-exodus strategy.


Sanjeev Kotnala is Founder and Head Catalyst at Intradia. A Management, Marketing and Brand consultant. He conducts specialised workshops in the area of IDEATION (Harvest and Liberate) and Innovation (InNoWait). His focus remains enhancing client’s interanal team’s potential and capabilities and decreasing their dependence  on external resources. To contact email  or tweet at s_kotnala visit


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.