This is what makes a high-retention manager

Smart employers who want to take control of the resignation wave are dialing into their employer value proposition. What do you have to offer employees in exchange for the great work they do? Are great bosses a benefit of working for you?

By now, it’s a cliché to say that people leave bad bosses, but the data continues to back this up: according to Gallup, one in two people have left a job because of their boss. Our own ongoing data has revealed a disengaged or unsupportive manager is one of the top causes of employee turnover in 2021, for both short- and long-term employees.

By far the most important factor in retention today is organizations that invest in systematically training and requiring managers to engage, guide, direct, and support employees in their day-to-day experience at work. With so many other factors impacting hiring and retention today, it’s critical for organizations to get this under control.

The good news is, there are concrete ways to transform leaders into high-retention managers.


When managing new hires, think structure

First, don’t drop the ball on communicating with new hires. Even before day one, managers can kickstart the onboarding process and set new employees up for success. Providing critical context is one of the best ways to engage new employees, and reinforce the value of their involvement, before their official first day of work.

Once that new hire is there on day one, sustain the structure for as long as possible. Far too many employees lose interest in a new job because, following the intensity of the hiring process, they find themselves working in a vacuum. Providing sufficient guidance, support, and coaching is always critical, but especially during the first days, weeks, and months of employment.


Are long-time employees getting the least management time?

While it is true that managers should provide new hires with sustained structure and support, that doesn’t mean long-term employees are better left alone until they need help. For one thing, by the time it is obvious a leader needs to intervene, the damage is probably done. And for another, what kind of message does it send to loyal employees when they are ignored unless something goes wrong?

So much of one’s daily experience at work is determined by their immediate supervisor: what tasks they are assigned, what routine duties they are responsible for, what opportunities are directed their way. If managers aren’t in regular, ongoing dialogue with their people, how can they possibly facilitate meaningful work and career advancement for them?

Following the monumental disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic, people’s priorities are changing. Work-life balance, sufficient compensation, equitable exchange in workplace rewards—all of these things are becoming increasingly important to a growing number of people, and many of them are probably working for you right now. Managers who regularly check in with their direct reports regarding these priorities are far more likely to engage and retain them for longer.


Improve the management in your organization

We at RainmakerThinking are more committed than ever to helping our clients adapt, adjust, and bounce back stronger than before. Improving the quality of the leadership in your organization is one of the best investments you can make:

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