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Retain Key Employees by Improving the Core Skills of the Managers

Employees generally leave bosses, not necessarily organizations. Walker Information, an Indianapolis-based marketing research firm, reports that 50% of your employees will leave when the job market starts to open up (Bruce Kidd, VP, January 7, 2011). So, what you are you doing to make sure that they, specifically the high performers, will stay with your organization?

Companies can start by making sure that they are developing their managers and supervisors. Developing the boss becomes a powerful tool in the war against employee turnover. Below are some tips that executive management may want to consider to assist with leadership development while at the same time improving employee retention?

  • Conduct exit interviews to get real data on why employees are leaving your organization. Employers should get to the root causes of why the employees are leaving and not just the information that they tell their managers. Employing an outside source to conduct these interviews will help to get more honest information. Employers should then use this information to help develop the bosses which should ultimately impact employee retention.

  • Define the skills that managers and supervisors need to manage the work and retain employees. The “people skills” and behaviors such as the ability to delegate; resolve conflicts; listen effectively; communicate effectively; deliver bad news; recognize and reward; and coach vs. discipline are just a few of the skills that good managers and supervisors should possess. Bosses who have these skills and utilize them effectively with their employees are less likely to have turnover compared to those who don’t. Companies need to continually evaluate the core supervisor and management skills that their leaders need in order to work at increasing employee retention.

  • Assess the managers and supervisors you have against the skills you need within the organization. Not all managers and supervisors will have the same skill sets in the areas of supervision. A company must assess each individual to determine where the strengths and gaps exist in order to understand where development is needed. Where possible, develop the skills of the managers and supervisors to fill the gaps. Where not possible, you may have to move a manager or supervisor out of the job where they currently manage people. This may be difficult for some organizations to do. However, remember that it may be more costly to the organization if you keep a manager or supervisor in a role where they are directly impacting negative employee retention then moving them to another role where they don’t directly supervise employees.

  • Make skill development a priority and include it in the performance criteria for bosses. By making skill development a priority and including it in their performance criteria, organizations are putting the responsibility back on the manager or supervisor to make sure that they are getting the core skills that they need in order to be a good boss. However, organizations must also remember to support the needs of those managers and supervisors by helping them to achieve their goals and not denying them the opportunities to further educate themselves. It is a two-way street when it comes to furthering the education of a manager or supervisor. The employee must want to continue to increasing their skills sets and the organization must be able to provide those employees with the resources needed to make the difference.

So, what you are you doing to make sure that 50% of your employees don’t leave? Are you working at developing your managers and supervisors? Developing your managers and supervisors today will save you money in turnover costs in the future. So, access the skills sets of your managers and supervisors and implement core management and supervisory programs today that will help your organization to save money tomorrow.

To learn more about implementing core management and supervisory training programs within your organization, contact New Focus HR, LLC.

Written By: Kristen Shingleton, M.B.A., CCP
President, New Focus HR LLC

New Focus HR





New Focus HR is a human resources consulting and training company that services all organizations. Our expert team collaborates with businesses to attract, motivate, retrain and retain their biggest assets, employees. While engaged with an organization, our focus is to find solutions that improve the company’s internal HR-related practices while increasing results at the same time! Our focus. Your results.