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After extensive research conducted over the years, I have uncovered key insights into the primary factors contributing to employee turnover. The financial impact of turnover is staggering, with recent estimates suggesting that replacing an employee ranges from $45,000 to $150,000.
My research on employee retention has yielded compelling and, unfortunately, predominantly negative findings. While there exist multiple reasons why individuals choose to leave their jobs, a significant proportion of these reasons can be attributed to managers. Some estimates suggest that managers are responsible for up to 60 percent of all the causes behind employee departures.
The evidence highlights a leadership gap that arises from managers’ inability to manage human beings, in the way that human beings are intrinsically wired to experience work. I have identified six recurring management mistakes that consistently rise to the surface, emphasizing the urgent need for improvement.
1. Failure to recognize their employees’ strengths
Gallup proved that managers fail to identify and utilize the strengths and talents of employees that go beyond a job description. People love to use their unique talents and gifts, and good managers will develop relationships with their employees to discover their strengths and bring out the best in them.
2. Failure to properly communicate with the team
Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson doesn’t mince words about the importance of communication. He writes:
Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow, and progress. It’s not just about speaking or reading, but understanding what is being said — and in some cases what is not being said. Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.
Additionally, good communication should be frequent. Gallup research has revealed that employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged than employees with managers who ignore them.
3. Failure to release control
Good managers allow their people to give input and best ideas and make decisions independently. Managers who dominate people and make all the decisions are seen as very controlling and self-centered. Consequently, creativity, innovation, morale, and performance are stifled in the long run. When managers lead by fear and control, that approach is never sustainable.
4. Failure to actively listen
When a manager fails to listen to the collective voice of the team in pursuing a vision or in completing an important project, chances are team members will not feel cared for, respected, or valued. When a manager doesn’t solicit the opinions of others, especially during change or transition, trust weakens and morale plummets.
5. Failure to become available
Visibility and availability are important leadership habits, especially as a company grows. Making oneself available and having an “open door” policy encourages employees to share their thoughts about the business, increasing morale and letting employees know they are part of the team.
6. Failure to care
Managers who don’t care or don’t know how to care or at some point stopped caring about their people will eventually lose their people, whether mentally and emotionally, or worse, to the competition. A failure to care may start with thinking anyone is replaceable and seeing employees as cogs in a wheel rather than worthy colleagues to be treated like business partners in producing excellence. Reversing this unfortunate managerial dysfunction starts with creating an environment where people feel safe — safe enough to experiment, challenge you, exercise their creativity and strengths, and give opinions.
The power of positive reinforcement in team building.
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BY MARCEL SCHWANTES AND CARL PHILLIPS