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Employees Leave Bad Managers, Not Bad Companies

Tanya Pinto
Tanya Pinto

A study by Gallup reveals that 50% of employees resign from jobs only to get away from their bosses. How startling is that?

Everyone has heard the adage, “People leave bosses, not companies.” Now it’s been proved that it actually happens, by research. Which clearly means, when an employee hands over that resignation letter - there’s a 50% chance it’s because of the manager. 

In fact, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton wrote succinctly, “Here’s something they’ll probably never teach you in business school. The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the  rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits—nothing.”

This clearly explains how important a manager’s role is, and why it’s challenging. If you are a manager and want to ensure that you don’t become the reason employees leave the company, we have some tips for you. 

Simon Sinek on how managers need to put employees first.

Four reasons why employees leave because of bad managers:

They’re not engaged enough: This is a no-brainer. Several studies prove that employees today are more disengaged than ever. This means they won't go the extra mile to a complete a task assigned to them, which obviously is bad for productivity. If you’re dealing with disinterested employees in your team, don’t panic. You’re not alone. A recent Towers Watson study states only 30% of employees worldwide are “engaged.” There’s an employee disengagement epidemic of sorts occurring around the world, and you need to tackle it quickly to stay ahead of competition. 

  • Solution: Amongst others, the most effective way to instantly boost employee engagement, is to allow them to set their own work goals. Instead of dictating what an employee should do, have weekly/ monthly meetings where employees share the targets they need to achieve, and how they plan to do it.

Their opinion is stifled: It’s common knowledge that Millennials don’t like being cogs in a company’s wheel. They want the opportunity to make a difference, and what their opinion to count. According to research by Deloitte, over three-quarters of Millennials feel that their career is something they control themselves. If you don’t allow employees to share opinions about their work, they’ll feel powerless. Instead, they’ll end up looking for another manager - in another company - that will listen to their opinion and let them have real impact.

  • Solution: The best way to encourage employees to speak up, is through regular anonymous surveys. Annual surveys should be replaced with fortnightly or monthly questionnaires. Employees will always know they can share their opinions without being judged if there’s something worrying them. Many organizations achieve this by using online employee engagement tools.

They don’t feel appreciated: Employees often go through various challenges, including those in their personal lives- in order to put their best foot forward at work. Often, managers do not appreciate an employee’s efforts enough, and who wouldn’t like a pat on the back every now and then? 

  • Solution: Recognition doesn’t always have to be monetary. Salary hikes and bonuses are not the only way to tell an employee she’s doing good work. Instead, every time you are impressed with an employee’s work, praise her efforts and appreciate her work. Encourage team members to appreciate each other at group meetings. 

Not receiving enough support: About 50% of Millennials state they would like monthly feedback from their managers, according to Harvard Business Review. How often do you offer feedback to your team members? By wanting feedback,  Millennials aren’t asking only to be praised. They want to know if there’s any way they can improve their work. They want to be mentored. 

  • Solution: Schedule regular one-to-one meetings with the employees in your team, discussing their progress and any roadblocks they’re facing. Besides boosting productivity, this will also improve your awareness about how your team is functioning. It will make you a more effective manager. 

Key takeaway: Good managers are key to retaining talent in the company. In order to be a manager that employees love: offer them more regular feedback, give recognition when good work is done, value their opinions, and allow them to determine their own goals at work. And as Simon Sinek says, eat your lunch last 🍔.

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