Why do talented people leave?
It’s a truism that ‘people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers’ and last year Approved Index found that nearly half (42%) of employees have left a job because of a bad boss. In its survey of 1,374 employees, almost a third (30%) feel their current boss is a bad manager and 44% said they disliked their boss.
The Institute of Leadership and Management ran a survey to look at the reasons for seeking a new role and found that we need to manage the talent pipeline to ensure staff have opportunities to develop and progress:
• More opportunity for progression (59%)
• Better pay (56%)
• More interesting job (50%)
• Better management (30%)
• More opportunity for training/development (27%)
• More opportunity for flexible working (18%)
• Nicer people (5%)
• Better options for parental leave (3%)
We know that employee voice plays a role in employee engagement so it’s interesting to note the employee feedback data from the Best Companies to Work For survey which looked at responses to the statement I would leave tomorrow if I had another job. Unsurprisingly, the highest correlated statement was “senior managers do a lot of telling and not enough listening”; 55% of employees who agreed to this statement would leave tomorrow if they had another job.
Holding on to the brightest and best
Recognition for a job well done should consist of more than just another job. Top performers tend to be self-motivated but they won’t like be taking for granted. Managers with good staff retention rates are those who show they care about their staff. They are the ones who celebrate the success of their employees, empathise with them and challenge them with roles that will help them achieve their aspirations.
The most talented of employees want and value feedback and they want development opportunities. If you look for ways to develop the skills of employees, no matter how good they already are, you are more likely to inspire their commitment. If good workers feel they are not growing, developing and doing stimulating and meaningful work, there is a risk they will become bored, discontented and seek challenges elsewhere.
It’s important to most of us to do a good job in a meaningful role. So, you need to talk to employees to understand what matters to them, their ambitions and motivators. Many managers are really bad at this sort of ‘man management’, partly because they’ve never had any training in holding career conversations or providing feedback. Studies show that 37% of employees had never had a career conversation with their line manager, and 75% of organisations do not provide career coaching.
If you want employees to develop and grow with your organisation then perhaps you ought to look at the people who are managing them first. Best-practice management development can result in a 23% increase in organisational performance. Leadership and management are where organisations should focus if they want to nurture employee potential with effective management strategies for coping with change, enhancing employee engagement and building the skills of the workforce.
The organisation that aims for long-term success can’t afford to ignore management proficiency. A progressive, long-term and sustainable approach to workforce planning and skills development that provides ongoing investment in people as part of business strategy are likely to have better managers and higher employee engagement and retention.