If you review your exit interview results, there will be numerous reasons listed for why your employees leave. However, do your exit interviews tell the full story? Unfortunately even if they do, it is already too late!..
According to Pam Dew, CEO of the Bayside Group, “most people leave their manager, not their employer.” As a retention strategy, it is equally important, if not more, for managers to have leadership skills as well as technical competence. Yet promotions are commonly based on technical competence.
Having spent more than twenty five years in the recruitment industry, Dew believes it is more often the little things that make people leave their jobs, which means turnover can be reduced significantly through effective leadership.
“When our candidates are asked what they are looking for in their ideal job/employer, money is not their first or even second priority. Candidates will talk about alignment of values, career development, being challenged, being inspired, working in a good team and being allowed to contribute using existing and newly acquired skills,” says Dew.
While most experts agree that some level of employee turnover is inevitable and even essential in order to attract new ideas, energy and enthusiasm, consistently high levels of staff turnover have a negative impact on both the bottom-line and staff morale. Employees have high expectations of their manager and start to lose respect if poor behaviour/performance is tolerated or progress is blocked because a manager is unable to delegate, make decisions or perform well.
Becoming an effective manager requires ongoing learning and development and does not always come naturally to people. Employers therefore need to provide consistent and ongoing training and development for their managers, and ensure managers allocate the time to focus on their people. “Middle managers in particular often have extensive implementation functions in addition to their managerial responsibilities and may not have the skill or resources to shift this balance,” Dew explains. “It is therefore essential to balance their functional workload and provide time for people management and future planning.”
In an environment where professional development and progression opportunities are offered, attraction and retention of high performing employees is easier, as high achievers seek advancement and new opportunities to learn. Employers therefore need to create a work environment that fosters opportunity and advancement, which can only happen if managers are effective.
From a poll we conducted of scientists in 2011, over 40% of respondents indicated they were planning to move within the next year, reflecting similar polls conducted in other sectors. “Every manager should be focused on engaging their employees, as people who are inspired in the workplace contribute significantly more and have no interest in looking elsewhere,” says Dew.
According to a recent article by Human Capital, it was found that entry level employees through to senior staff ranked remuneration last among reasons for moving companies. The more senior the position of the employee, the less important remuneration is to them, and the less likely a counter offer will be considered. In reality, most people don’t start looking for a new job because they want more money; it is often triggered by dissatisfaction in their job and a lack of recognition.
Dissatisfaction will get a soon-to-be ex-employee started on a job search; hence it is critical to invest the time in finding out what your talented employees value before it’s too late. It is the employer’s responsibility to understand why people are leaving and make changes to prevent current employees from leaving for the same reasons.