We have previously talked about what everyone is calling “The Great Resignation,” or why employees are leaving, and what companies can do to retain talent. As fears of labor shortages grow and companies seek to entice employees to stay using a three-ring circus of “perks,” I want to look beyond broader company culture and talk about the benefits of good management in employee retention, as well as what you can do to set your company on a course of employee engagement, retention and loyalty.
An intriguing phenomenon
Recently, while working with a mid-size insurance company, I encountered an intriguing phenomenon. Two sales teams covering the same markets, with the same targets and working conditions, had vastly different rates of staff turnover.
In talking to a member of Team A, I learned that this team was headed by a manager who respected what their staff did and treated them as competent individuals. The manager served as a mentor for staff, taking the time to teach and uplift each member of his team. The manager asked for team input on decisions, stood up for their employees, and created an atmosphere where employees felt comfortable asking for flexibility at times when their work-life balance needed to skew more towards life. In turn, their staff were engaged in the company and invested in the success of their team. One team member passed up a new job opportunity that would have increased their salary, because they knew the mentorship and management they were receiving were so rare. Overall, they loved coming to work!
Team B was managed by someone who saw their employees as a necessity. This manager never asked for input, regularly belittled employees in front of others, and took all the credit when things went well but blamed their team when targets were not met. This manager micromanaged his team and never took the time to mentor or create connections. This staff was disengaged and was visibly miserable.
It should come as no surprise that the team with the good manager had much lower staff turnover, and was consistently meeting or exceeding their targets. The team with the bad manager was in a constant state of flux, with employees leaving at an alarming rate and morale (and consequently, productivity) at an all-time low.
Good managers keep good employees
Good management is key to employee retention for a number of reasons. First and foremost, good managers create an environment in which employees feel valued. They listen to their concerns, involve them in decision-making processes, and give them the opportunity to grow within the company. Secondly, good managers are effective communicators. They keep their team informed of company goals and objectives, as well as changes that may affect them. Lastly, good managers are able to provide feedback – both positive and constructive – in a way that motivates employees to do their best work.
Creating a culture of positive management
To create a culture of positive leadership, who better to teach good management practices and leadership than the great leaders you already have? These current managers can be identified using data points of significance (targets, deliverables, employee turnover), as well as direct feedback from employees. Once you have identified those who excel, put them in charge of leading management development programs. This will not only help to ensure that your company has a pipeline of good managers and future great leaders, but also ensure that those that excel at leadership and management feel valued and appreciated.
It is important to structure these programs in a way that does not cause burnout amongst the entire leadership team. A good way to do this is to create a rotational program, where managers can opt in or out as their schedules allow. This way, you are not putting all the burden on a few individuals, and those who do participate feel like they are part of something special.
When done correctly, leadership development programs will help to set your company on a course of staff engagement, retention and loyalty. By valuing your employees and investing in their development, you create an environment in which people not only want to stay, but will thrive.
Creating a new leadership development program in addition to juggling day-to-day HR needs can seem overwhelming. Flynn Barrett Consulting can work with you to create a low-maintenance program to “train the trainer” and put you on a path to great leadership practices across the board. Schedule a consultation today!