How can managers improve staff retention?

Managers improve staff retention blog

How do your managers & executives contribute to motivating your top talent?

Does management have a clear idea of the motivators that cause talent to stay in your company? Is staff retention even part of the role of a manager?

Without a shadow of a doubt.

And one of the most important ways you can keep your business costs down and improve levels of customer service & team performance at the same time, is by making sure that you and your management do everything you can to retain your top talent.

The costs that come with losing and then replacing a top-performer or key manager are well-known by CEOs and leaders – up to 2.5 times the annual salary of the employee, according to some research.

Apart from having to spend time and money advertising the role, as well as the time-cost spent on interviews and loss of productivity whenever top-talent  decides to exit your company, there are other hidden, but significant costs involved when your managers fail to prioritise the ongoing challenge of talent retention.

Lost knowledge, damaged team-morale, reduced productivity and dissatisfied customers are all a result of having one of your best people leave your business, not to mention the loss of a great personality who had a positive impact on your bottom line.

Why does top-talent leave an organisation?

Top-talent rarely leave an organisation because of monetary reasons, or because their benefits package is not big enough – although these things count.

In reality, good people leave an organisation because they have lost motivation to achieve and perform and have become unhappy and dissatisfied.

Satisfaction is closely related to motivation and commitment.

Although it may often come as a surprise to managers when it happens, the signs that your top-performers may be preparing to hand in their resignation are not difficult to spot.

Top-performers start to miss work, and take less and less interest in the team and the customers.

Requests for extended lunches and time-off work become more frequent, as your top-talent prepares for his or her exodus.

This happens for a number of reasons:

1. Dissatisfaction with work environment – Team conflict, poor communication or simply being in the wrong role, can drive top-talent away.

Creating the right conditions for an individual to realize their potential, and building a strong team, is central to retaining good people.

Managers and leaders must find out how to create the right working environment for each individual to perform well, or face retention problems.

2. Lack of promotional or self-development opportunities – Good people won’t stick around for long if there is no opportunity for growth in your company- sideways or promotional.

Not all talent wants to go to the top, with many high-potential people being quite happy to remain at the same organizational level for many years.

The key is to create opportunities which go the right way and allow the employee to realize his own potential in his own way.

3. Poor management or leadership – Top talent don’t leave bad organisations. Top-talent leave bad managers.

Poor or inattentive managers, who fail to develop, manage and empower top-talent, are directly responsible for the resignation of that person if they refuse to understand how to manage and mobilize their individual talents.

Good people also value inspirational leadership, and find it hard to work for leaders they do not respect or admire.

4. Lack of recognition for achievements – Recognition is about to showing your people that you value their contributions, and the impact that their work has on the team and the bottom-line.

If your managers leave your high-performers out in the cold, and fail to recognize and reward  high-performance or individual contributions to the team, top-talent will start to look for work elsewhere.

Recognition, however, is more than just bonuses and benefits, and managers who fail to develop a tailored recognition strategy for each of their top-talent, risk disillusionment and distrust, which often results employees leaving your organisation.

5. Loss in motivation and drive  – Top-performers will only stay on top if they are motivated and driven to do so, and it’s the job of managers and leaders to contribute towards keeping levels of motivation high.

Careful though: what motivates one person, can quickly demotivate the next, and many managers – although unwittingly – can actually contribute to staff turnover by using the wrong things to motivate top-talent.

Management must learn what motivates their top talent to improve retention rates.

Because motivation is the driver of performance, when motivation levels drop, so too do levels of productivity. Sadly, most managers don’t know why this happens, or what to do about it when it does.

Nevertheless, having understanding of what motivates your top-performers deep-down, is the key to improving staff retention in your company.

The game-changers in your organisation may be known for always firing on all cylinders, but even top talent can lose momentum and motivation quickly if the right conditions are not provided to them by managers.

Although many managers and leaders think that money and benefits are the most effective motivators for high-achievers and top-performers, research has shown this to be seldom the case.

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What can managers give top-talent to improve to talent retention?

Nowadays, in a climate of austerity and reduced spending by organizations, managers and leaders must constantly seek new ways to keep their top-talent in the flow and retain them in the company.

Instead of throwing money at high-performers to convince them to stay, there are many other things which may be far more important for your people in terms of feeling motivated to achieve.

Individual, psychological motivating needs are not easily visible, but are very powerful.

To improve staff retention rates, find out which one of these motivating needs drives  your top-performers, and train your managers to give them more of it:

  • Support and recognition for own ideas
  • Freedom & autonomy to do things independently
  • A wide-berth to try new things
  • Change – New experiences, new people, new places
  • Opportunities to be creative
  • Control of their own work schedule
  • Ability to influence strategy directly
  • Chance to influence key decisions about the team
  • Opportunities to learn and develop
  • Freedom from office politics
  • Freedom to change priorities & make exceptions
  • The secret to talent retention lies with management & leadership & a good job-fit

In truth,  there are many reasons why good people leave an organisation. What exit interviews show, however, is that bad management is the main reason people leave.

Studies show that 1 in 4 employees identified their manager as the most disliked aspect of their job.

This means that, in order to improve rates of retention among top-talent throughout your company, management and leadership teams must develop more effective ways to manage and mobilize, and realize the individual potential of their best people, and learn what motivates them to stay – and what motivates them to leave too.

Smart leaders and managers know that really effective talent-retention starts at the recruitment and selection stage.

Making sure that you and your managers hire the right talent for the right roles, and that they understand how to achieve a great job-fit, will greatly increase your chances of being able to build and develop the talent pool that you need to sustain a competitive advantage in your industry.

What do you say? – Do you think managers have responsibility for staff retention?

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