The Real Reason Employees Leave Jobs and 12 Steps Managers Can Take to Prevent It
When it comes to employee turnover, many managers are quick to cite salary as the likely culprit. But think about it – what motivated you to leave your last job? Most of the time it had something to do with the people with whom you were working.
However, a recent Gallup Study representing a diverse spectrum of industries revealed that a staggering 50% of adult workforce members left a job “to get away from their manager.” This compelling result underscores a manager’s influence in preserving an organization’s most valuable commodity: its human capital. And unfortunately, often it is the people we do not want to lose who leave.
So, what is the most significant and effectual deliverable that you as a workforce leader should provide for your employees? Engagement. Engagement is not just a workplace buzzword. As defined by Aon Hewitt, a leading global provider of human capital and management consulting services, engagement is the “psychological state and behavioral outcomes that lead to better performance.” (Aon’s 2014 Trends in Global Employee Engagement Report provides an in-depth analysis of employee engagement and is worth reviewing)
Engaged employees demonstrate consistent and elective effort. They are fueled by passion, are fiercely loyal to their organization, and take pride in driving innovation to move your business forward. Gallup researchers studied the differences in performance between engaged and actively disengaged work units and found that those scoring in the top half on employee engagement nearly doubled their odds of success compared with those in the bottom half. Employee engagement levels have marked impact on productivity, customer service, sales, and profit.
MEA is committed to supporting workforce leaders in their continued efforts to maximize employee engagement and minimize turnover. Provided below are 12 steps designed to help you facilitate engagement and fuel organizational success.
1. Provide employees with clear expectations
Meet with your team often to establish a framework of how, when, and why things should get done. This communication tactic creates accountability and shared understanding. Once employees are aware of what’s expected of them and measurable goals are clearly communicated, team members will be able to work cohesively to produce greater output.
2. Equip employees with the tools they need to perform their jobs well
With expectations in place, it is critical that you empower your workforce to produce at an optimal level by providing the resources, materials, information, and contacts necessary to carry out essential job functions effectively.
3. Afford them the opportunity to do what they do best every day
Identify core competencies and help employees capitalize on skill sets by assigning projects and tasks aligned with their individual talents. This approach will yield higher levels of employee engagement and result in personal connection to work. Refer to Russell Sarder’s Building an Innovative Learning Organization for pointed guidance on this initiative.
4. Acknowledge good work through praise and recognition
Validate your employees’ efforts by expressing approval and appreciation of a job well done. By recognizing employee performance, you are dually reinforcing expectations while motivating your workforce to produce quality deliverables.
5. Value your workforce as people, not just essential job functions
Make it a point to get to know your employees beyond their workplace titles. Refrain from meetings that are strictly perfunctory in nature, and instead ask about individual values, goals, and interests. This type of dialog fosters trust and positive working relationships.
6. Encourage employee development and growth
Position your employees to transition into leadership roles. Spend time developing and expanding their skill sets and identifying opportunities for advancement. Coaching and encouragement drives workplace achievement.
7. Solicit and validate the input of your team
There is no voice more powerful than that of your workforce. Ask regularly for their opinions and input, and commit to implementing suggestions and ideas, especially those designed to improve workplace dynamics and increase productivity.
8. Acknowledge the importance of each individual’s contributions
To quote Rupert Murdoch, “It’s good business to have an employee feel part of the entire effort.” Reassurance that employee contributions play an integral role in the overall success of the organization breeds loyalty and promotes continued dedication. This dynamic is highlighted in Harvard Business Review’s How to Hang on to Your High Potentials.
9. Ensure that both you and your team are committed to quality work
Simply put, you set the standard. Expectations of quality start at the top. Be consistent with feedback and hold yourself to the same benchmark of success when it comes to acceptable output.
10. Foster positive work relationships
Cultivating a positive, inclusive workplace environment is a critical component of employee engagement. Promote cross-functional relationships and provide opportunities for employees at all levels of the organizational hierarchy to connect and collaborate. Institute team-building exercises and keep your workforce abreast of any changes in personnel or infrastructure
11. Encourage employees to discuss progress and provide them with timely and relevant feedback
Schedule time to meet with your employees and invite them to reflect on performance goals and notable accomplishments. Listen intently, assess areas of improvement, and offer comprehensive feedback designed to facilitate motivation and spark ambition.
12. Offer ongoing learning and development opportunities
Learning and development are not interchangeable with promotion and power of title. Today’s workforce is not only focused on ascending the ladder; they also value the opportunity to develop new skills, participate in career mentorship and explore succession planning. Provide a robust variety of programming, workshops, and training initiatives to keep employees engaged.
Serving as a frontline manager is an experience governed by reward and opportunity. However, as evidenced by the steps outlined above, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Contact MEA today to take advantage of the broad pipeline of management training resources available including Managing People Through Motivation, Management Fundamentals, and the popular Leadership Advantage series. Through commitment to training, you will be better prepared to change personal behaviors, positively impact the workplace, increase productivity, and most importantly, reduce turnover.