As A Manager Can You Really Help Improve Employee Retention?


‘People leave managers, not companies’ is often quoted in management circles and also hotly debated as to whether it is true or not.


In this article we look at possible evidence for supporting this notion too see how your management and leadership behaviours may affect employee retention.

1. Understanding what motivates employees

Although this may seem obvious it is often ignored by managers who are only focused on short-term results.

The top motivators for employees tend to be recognition, personal development, reward package, job satisfaction, progression, variety of work, autonomy and feeling that they are making a contribution to the organisation. The challenge comes when you try to figure out which of these is most important to individual team members.

Many managers think they know or just assume that it is money. This is a mistake and can lead you to attempt to motivate in the wrong way.

One way to find out what motivates people is to ask them. Another way is to ask your people to take part in personal motivator and behaviour surveys. These surveys help people to recognise their own motivators using objective methods and can be very useful for both managers and employees alike.

If you would like to know more about these surveys please contact us to find out these can be used effectively in developing your team.

2. Gain a reputation for developing great employees

We learn from managers we work with – good and bad. Those managers who show a genuine interest in developing people and helping them gain promotion will attract good people.

As human beings we like to progress in life and if we find someone who can help us do this we are more likely to want to join their team.

This can be obtained by asking team members about their ambitions and what they want to achieve if life inside and outside work. It may be that the job they are currently doing may not be their ideal job.

If you can help them find work that interests them either within the team or in another team in the organisation they will be very grateful and motivated.

If they have a particular talent that you can use they you are onto a real winner.

3. Protect your employees from others in the organisation

People are also motivated by a manager who will fight their corner. Criticism can come from other departments or even your own boss when things are not going well. Whether it is justified or not, it is your job as manager to shield people and defend the situation. Likewise when things go well, it is your job to give your team members the recognition.

People need to know that they have the confidence of their own manager. Publicly criticising your team or any individuals undermines confidence and often results in demotivation and a drop in productivity.

This is the opposite to what you want in order to achieve results.

It is acceptable to have a constructive feedback session in private with individuals to help them develop. When doing so always remember to recognise the contribution they making before focusing on one or two areas for improving.

Focusing on ‘negative’ elements all the time can be very demoralising and may ultimately encourage people to find someone who will appreciate their efforts.

These are just a few ideas for improving retention levels in your organisation. High levels of turnover can be expensive in terms of recruitment and training costs. In the long term it is worth putting in the extra time and effort to keep hold of people, especially the good ones.

Remember, stability is good for managers, business and customers.

Many thanks

Mark Williams

Head of Training

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by stockimages of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Originally published: 13 May, 2013

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