Five keys to reducing employee turnover

With research consistently finding that quality of management is one of the main reasons employees choose to leave a business, management’s impact on staff turnover is simply too large to ignore, argues HR maestro Paula Maidens.

With research consistently finding that quality of management is one of the main reasons employees choose to leave a business, management’s impact on staff turnover is simply too large to ignore, argues HR maestro Paula Maidens.

While some turnover is inevitable, poor management can cause normal turnover rates to rise to an excessive level. As the employment market grows increasingly skills-short, the truth is that a talented employee won’t stay in an organisation where they aren’t being managed well. With turnover having such a huge, negative effect on business profitability and performance, managers cannot afford to ignore the people management side of their roles.

So what actually accounts for being a great boss? Fundamentally, what employees really appreciate is not a manager who can deliver fantastic financial results, but instead one who shows their employees they are valued. 

Here are five key qualities that employees generally view as important in being a great manager:

1. A boss who is trustworthy and open: When employees trust that their manager has the best interests of the business and the team at heart, they are more motivated to perform at their best. However, trust is not just about integrity and character, but also competence. Your staff need to believe that you can walk the talk. While trust requires open communication and honesty, accountability and competence are equally important for building trust in the workplace.

2. A boss who clearly communicates direction: By sharing the organisation’s vision with your employees, you’re demonstrating that they are important to the organisation’s overall success. Show your employees how their own roles and goals fit into the wider business vision to ensure they feel like more than just a cog in the wheel.

3. A boss who gives me the space to do my work, but supports me: Micromanagement can be severely discouraging to employees, as it sends the message that they can’t be trusted to perform work at a high enough level. While this may not necessarily be true, it’s important to allow your team autonomy when possible.

Instead of closely monitoring progress, organise to check in on your employees’ progress at regular intervals to see how they’re going. This allows you the chance to manage their progress, and it also allows your staff to ask if they need additional support or coaching to get the task done. Regular check-ins, whether at a team meeting or a weekly/monthly one-on-one, reduce surprises while empowering your employees to perform on their own and take ownership of their roles.

4. A boss who listens to and respects my input into decisions: Encouraging your staff to have their say in decisions can make a huge difference in whether change is resisted or embraced. People naturally prefer their own ideas, so if you can present a situation and ask for ideas and feedback on the change required, you will have employees who are more accepting of any resulting change. While you may not be able to take on board all of their input, employees will likely feel content knowing that their opinion has been heard and considered respectfully.

5. A boss who gives regular and honest feedback: An annual performance review simply isn’t enough – studies have shown that feedback is at its most effective when delivered as soon as possible. Giving feedback regularly will help your employees learn, develop and change to prosper within your business. Not only does this help your staff by providing them with on-the-job learning opportunities and celebrating successes, it will also benefit your business through a more positive working environment, improved productivity and enhanced performance.

 Paula Maidens is Managing Director of Recruitment Coach.

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