79% Of Isolated Employees Left Within 2 years
Work with People Networks to Win on Retention

The Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle, the Big Quit… by now it is old news that people are quitting their jobs at unprecedented rates. But that does not change the fact that this phenomenon is still ongoing – and that the resulting cost for organizations is significant. The single biggest reason? Employee isolation.

In 2020, a big pharmaceutical company embarked on a journey to move from a traditional organizational structure, toward a networked organization. Two years on, they were making good progress and soldiering on with their change initiatives. However, they were not immune to the soaring attrition.

Average Annual Attrition of 31%

As they were losing 31% of their employees each year, the company realized it was time to integrate retention efforts into their strategic network activities. Innovisor conducted a new network analysis to establish the organization’s development compared to its baseline, and to understand where to focus and prioritize efforts.

The baseline diagnostic showed that 20% of their employees were already experiencing loneliness
Tracking networks showed that employee isolation increased to average upwards of 30% of employees

In 2022, the Innovisor analysis showed that the single biggest common denominator among those who had left the pharma company was employee isolation.

The attrition rate among isolated employees, i.e. employees who did not feel energized by anyone at work, was twice as high as the rest.

Yes, TWICE! In some locations, the attrition rate among isolated people was as high as 79%.

It was critical to find out what could make people stay.


One of the locations was Mexico with the people in red, those who were the isolated employees.
– Number of isolated employees (i.e. no one pointed to them for Energy): 20%
– Attrition among isolated employees: 79%
– Attrition among non-isolated employees: 47%

Magnetic 3% Of People Made Others Stay

Some people spread more energy in their organization than others. The trusted connections they develop with their coworkers are magnetic. The 3% of people in an organization who enjoy the most widespread trust of their peers, and consequently also have the biggest impact on their colleagues’ perceptions, are absolutely crucial for retention (Learn more: https://www.innovisor.com/2018/11/28/innovisor-animation/)

Part of the pharma company’s action plan towards a more networked organization was to activate and engage the 3%. This had an unintended, yet positive, impact on retention:

in locations where the pharma company had worked with the 3%, more of them had stayed. Thanks to the engagement with the right 3%, the attrition among that group was 1/3 lower than the overall company.

It was not the mere recognition of the individuals as influential that had done the trick. It was the fact that the 3%, who had the trust of their colleagues, had been involved in the co-creation of strategic initiatives.

33% Lower Attrition if Engaging the 3%

Thanks to the engagement with the right 3%, the attrition among that group was 33% lower than the overall company. Additionally, the spillover effect on the rest of the network was significant. Among the people who had a connection with an influencer, either directly or even indirectly through another person, attrition was 10% lower than the overall rate.

Work With People Networks To Win on Retention

In conclusion, retention is a network matter. Employee isolation makes people leave – trust, energy, and connection make them stay.

So – What’s the level of trust in your organization? What are you doing to boost energy and facilitate connection among your people? In other words – what actions are you taking to end employee isolation?

Emotions and perceptions are contagious and flow in networks regardless of if you track them. At Innovisor, we make the invisible visible.

Author: Sanne

Case written by

Sanne Qvarfordh

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