Excerpt from Magnet Culture’s, “Workforce Wake-Up Call: How Many Must Leave Before Retention Becomes a True Priority?”

After years of helping clients retain employees, we’ve found that while everyone has a role in decreasing turnover, manager effectiveness is the key. But why aren’t managers effective? Think about everything your managers have to deal with right now. They have so many things coming at them from every which direction — from meetings, to emails, to “my team needs something,” to “we have open positions I’m supposed to be interviewing for, hiring, then I have to onboard those folks.” Not to mention the full-time job of productive tasks they’re supposed to be completing.

For years, the business world has been under an organizational goal to “do more with less.” At this point, it’s officially backfired as companies have become too lean and tight with time and responsibilities. Experts encouraged to flatten the hierarchy years ago, but now there is no longer time for managers to manage as those leaders are constantly fighting fires and taking on the responsibilities from the talent that has walked out the door. The much-needed breathing room was eliminated and now companies are paying the price for an unsustainable approach. Those “streamlining” business mantras sounded good, and may have supported short-term goals and productivity, but they ultimately created the negative long-term effects companies are feeling now.

So, What Must Leaders Do?

We have found managers must have three things from the organization to be effective: valid data, proper training, and time to manage. What happens if any one of them is missing? It’s like the 3-legged stool and with only two legs, it will all come crashing down.

Consider these scenarios with only two of the three supports:

  1. Data + Training + Time: Managers who have completed the proper training and have the time to lead but have not gathered valid data are making decisions based on assumptions. That’s where leaders miss the mark and waste a lot of time, money, and resources with blanket approaches that aren’t what our people really want. We’ve seen several organizations implement company-wide recognition programs because they assumed people wanted more appreciation, but that approach often fails because it is too generic. Most staff simply want their bosses to appreciate their effort personally, not earn badges on a leaderboard. Recognition software can be effective, but if it’s not what the workforce ultimately needs, it won’t solve the problem.
  1. Data + Training + Time: If managers have collected valid data about their people and are given time to execute retention strategies with team members, but aren’t given adequate training, they will fall flat time and time again due to poor execution. Those leaders are flying blind without the tools to be successful. Many have not been properly trained to understand themselves or today’s new workforce, and their traditional communication and supervisory approach from the late 1900s isn’t working today. Insightful assessments and tactical training build the necessary competencies managers must obtain to become better bosses.
  1. Data + Training + Time: And if we look at a manager who has good information about their team, truly knows their people, has validated all their assumptions, and has been properly trained on leading others, but has no time to execute what they know is needed (giving effective feedback, appreciating contributions, mentoring, being accessible for their team when needed, etc.), that will result in good intentions alone. They want (and know they need) to talk to their people more often. They want to work on team building and trust, but they’re so overwhelmed they can never get there, so they look like bad managers who have no time or regard for their people.

Organizations must give managers all three — valid data, proper training, and time to manage – if they want to keep employees longer.

Dive deeper into these 3 manager must-haves in Magnet Culture’s minibook, Workforce Wake-Up CallHow Many Must Leave Before Retention Becomes a True Priority? Download the free ebook in our Magnet Vault or email abby@magnetculture to purchase physical copies.

Is employee turnover keeping you up at night? What’s going on exactly? Let me guess…

  • Managers’ plates are too full to do it all
  • There’s no time for leadership and staff development
  • The disconnect is growing between leaders and staff

The correlation between ineffective managers and increased turnover is no coincidence. The problems caused by low retention prevent managers from BEING managers and turnover increases when managers aren’t properly managing. It’s a vicious cycle! Now’s the time for a wake-up call so we can stop the revolving door by making managers more effective.

Cara Silletto, MBA, CSP, is a workforce thought leader, keynote speaker, and author of the book, Staying Power: Why Your Employees Leave & How to Keep Them Longer

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