How managers can positively impact employee retention

Life Lessons

How managers can positively impact employee retention

There’s an old cliché that says, “Employees don’t leave companies. They leave bad managers.” The point being that responsibility for turnover lies with the manager. If an employee leaves, it’s the manager’s fault.

While 100% of the responsibility for turnover doesn’t lie with the manager, a vast majority of it does. Managers have an incredible amount of influence over an employee’s work experience with the organization. Here are five areas where managers can have a positive impact on employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

  1. Provide a realistic job preview. Plenty of articles will tell you recruitment is like selling. And the goal is to sell the positive aspects of the job and company to potential candidates. While that’s true, it doesn’t mean organizations — and their managers — should omit the challenges or downsides.

Many employees leave organizations because they felt they were “lied” to during the recruitment process. It’s okay (and preferred) to share the good along with the not-so-good about the position.

  1. Make onboarding a priority. Once candidates accept a job offer, make sure they begin to feel welcome and excited to start. Send a congratulations email or welcome video. Ask the candidates their favorite beverage so you can have some stocked in the breakroom for them.

According to Gallup, a key driver of employee retention is having a best friend at work. Employees can’t start building relationships if they don’t feel welcome. The onboarding process is the perfect time to start setting the stage for success. Take care of employees by answering questions, providing information and setting expectations.

  1. Conduct regular one-on-one meetings. “No news is good news” isn’t a way to communicate. If the only time employees hear from their manager is when something is wrong, they’ll never want to speak with their manager.

Employees leave organizations when they don’t know how they’re doing. Managers don’t have to gush all over employees. And they don’t have to provide feedback every single day. But employees do want to know when they’re doing a good job as well as what they need to do to improve.

  1. Develop and delegate. Managers should provide training and coaching for employees so they can move into positions of greater responsibility within the organization. It helps the company fill future positions. And it helps employees fulfill their career goals.

If that’s not enough reason, managers should develop and delegate to employees for the benefit of their own careers. Managers aren’t going to be able to accept a promotion or work on an exciting special project if they don’t have someone to move into their position.

  1. Be a team advocate. Employees expect managers to fight some of their battles for them — especially when it comes to pay, benefits and bureaucracy. Managers know the system. They have relationships with HR, payroll and other operational departments.

Employees often leave organizations when the bravo sierra factor (you know what we’re talking about here) gets to be too much. Managers can often reduce the frustration, but they must be willing to stand up for the team.

Managers have the ability to set expectations, provide resources, regularly communicate, stand up for the team and focus on the future. These aren’t unrealistic expectations for a manager. And when done well, they can have a huge impact on creating a positive employee experience and reducing employee turnover.