The truth about turnover: Empowering managers to empower employees
Employers across the globe are facing an economic phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation.” As of the spring of 2021, employees began leaving their jobs at record rates. While employee attrition is sometimes inevitable, one of the best methods to stop turnover in its tracks is by empowering managers to empower their employees.
The pandemic isn’t the only cause of the Great Resignation, or the Great Reshuffling, as LinkedIn’s CEO terms it. According to a recent Gallup article, another primary reason is that employees are prioritizing the need for personal growth and development in the positions they hold. They’re looking for clear avenues towards advancement, cross-training and the chance to upskill or reskill. If an employee is feeling stifled, the key player in addressing these feelings and helping meet these needs is often their direct supervisor or manager.
Can a manager really make a difference in an employee’s workplace experience?
The answer to this question is, overwhelmingly, yes. It’s no secret that great leadership is a key factor in a team that can outperform the competition. What may be less well-known is that in many cases, a great manager is often the deciding factor when an employee chooses to leave or stay. Gallup’s research found that “it takes more than a 20% pay raise to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them, and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers.”
The takeaway? Relationships are by far more valuable to engaged employees than money, which speaks volumes to the important role a manager plays within an organization. Organizations where employees are engaged with their managers reap the benefit of loyalty, which according to Gallup’s analysis, is difficult, if not impossible, to simply buy. On the other hand, organizations where managers are not engaging employees are at high risk of losing them even if a higher salary was offered as an incentive.
The human connection
What does all this mean for employers? In the face of global uncertainty, employees are craving far more than just the promise of a bigger paycheck. Many of them are willing to forgo that in favor of a real connection with their manager or direct supervisor. How can that be achieved? The following five “turnover truths” from Gallup can help executive management in empowering managers to empower their employees:
Gallup Turnover Truth 1: “Connected managers catch intent to leave long before it occurs.”
There are often warning signs when an employee is considering leaving an organization, such as a decline in work performance or workplace relationships. A manager who checks in regularly with their employees and actively creates opportunities to connect has a far greater chance of detecting these signs in advance and strategizing on ways address them.
Gallup Turnover Truth 2: “Empathetic managers listen to problems, receive employee feedback and help prioritize the workload.”
An employee is bound to become dissatisfied in their work if they feel they have no one to take concerns to or are afraid to provide their honest opinion. Even employees who do have recourse in these areas are likely to get frustrated if no action is ever taken as a result. An employee must have the opportunity to make their voice heard plus subsequent collaboration and follow-up from their manager to work through any challenges.
Gallup Turnover Truth 3: “Empowered managers find creative solutions, personalize flexibility and advocate for their people.”
When there is a problem, there’s no better way for a manager to foster trust and loyalty than by going the extra mile on their behalf. Engaged employees are those that feel cared for. But if a manager does not possess the power to enact positive change, all the empathetic listening and creative solutions in the world become useless. Executive leadership must allow managers a certain degree of autonomy and trust, thus empowering them to empower their employees.
Gallup Turnover Truth 4: “Inspiring managers offer regular employee recognition, encouragement and mission moments.”
Success breeds success, and it’s important to give credit where credit is due. Managers who don’t recognize individual employee effort are far less likely to retain employees. People gravitate towards leaders who share in group success and commend individual effort because it fosters trust, which is crucial for an employee-manager relationship. Recognition is also likely to result in greater employee output. Increasingly, employees simply won’t stay in a workplace which they perceive as a thankless grind. Their manager has a lot to do with influencing that perception.
Gallup Turnover Truth 5: “Coaching managers help struggling employees find their future within your organization.”
When leaders take on the mindset of a coach, employees’ opportunities to grow become almost inevitable. And given that growth is so important to today’s workforce, this may be the most essential management tenet of all. A good coach is engaged with their team, listens to and advocates for their players, celebrates their team’s successes. A good coach also continually pushes their players to improve and grow – in short, it is the perfect analogy to effectively summarize each of these “turnover truths” from Gallup.
Empowering managers to empower employees
One of the best ways to overcome the effects of “The Great Resignation” is by addressing any disconnects between employers and managers. That may mean first investing in managers to grow their skills, so that they in turn are empowered to grow their teams. Wherever your organization currently lands in terms of employee satisfaction, it is always a worthwhile endeavor to invest in the human potential of your workforce, and there has never been a better time in history to do so. For more information on employment-related issues, reach out to your broker or tribal risk manager today!
Gallup: How to Win ‘The Great Resignation’