Source: Statista

An employee leaves his boss, not the company

Those who are dissatisfied with their job are increasingly considering changing jobs. But what makes an employee dissatisfied? According to the latest Gallup study (2018), 71% of those surveyed are doing their job by the book and 14% are already at the stage of internal resignation. The economic damage caused by this attitude is estimated at around 103 billion euros. Dissatisfied employees are those who no longer know why they go to the office in the morning. They are people who are not allowed to act on their own responsibility to a certain extent and who are neither praised nor spurred on, but pettily controlled. Dissatisfied employees have no emotional attachment to their company and the managers are mainly responsible for this grievance.

What makes a good leader?

A good leader is oriented towards the employees. He or she makes the effort to know the employees and deal with them accordingly. An outstanding manager does not carry his whims around the company. A good manager is therefore predictable.

Employees want fair treatment, open interaction and would rather have a coach than a sergeant-at-arms as their superior. This manager acts for the good of the company and does not pursue self-serving goals.

How can you as a manager contribute to employee retention?

1. Give feedback

Do not act according to the motto “Not reprimanded is praised enough”. Your job as a manager is to lead your team to good performance. This includes feedback – and constructive feedback at that. Of course you are allowed to criticise if the employee has given you cause to do so, but remain fair and objective. And for every point of criticism, there is bound to be at least one point that you could praise. So do that too! Appreciation is the only way to keep your employees in the company in the long term.

2. Do not shy away from conflict

In every team there are conflicts, in groups this is quite normal. Don’t let conflicts escalate and develop antennas for them. It is your job to ensure a good working atmosphere. In the worst case, one or more employees suffer so much from the situation that they have to be transferred internally, go on sick leave with depression or burnout, or simply quit. And that is exactly what you want to avoid. The following therefore applies in the case of conflicts:

  • Encourage your staff to come to you when they have problems.
  • Listen to everyone involved, their opinions and views.
  • Remain objective.
  • Take action as early as possible.

3. Ensure the right work-life balance

The times when employees feared for their jobs and sacrificed their entire private lives out of fear of losing their jobs are over. All current studies prove this: Work-life balance is becoming more and more important. Overtime is fine if it is an exception. Overtime is also perceived as right when it is meaningful. If employees are evaluated solely on the basis of timekeeping, where “good” means lots of overtime, the turnover rate in your department or company will steadily increase.

If you want to have and keep really good employees, you have to make sure that they are satisfied. And that includes a good work-life balance. Introduce flexible working time models or home office hours. Also, treat all employees in the team as equals. If you demand overtime, then demand it from everyone involved. Every now and then this is perfectly permissible and even strengthens team spirit and cohesion.

4. Motivate your employees to work independently

Do not micro-manage.

  • Your employees will have the feeling that you don’t trust them with anything.
  • Your employees will sooner or later be absolutely demotivated.
  • You will no longer have time for your own work.
  • Your employees will look for a more demanding job.

As long as no serious mistakes happen, you as a manager do not have to influence and not everything has to be done in the way you think is right, down to the last detail. Most employees are very knowledgeable in their field of work. So be open to the arguments why a staff member does things the way he or she does.

5. Take time for your employees

Worries of the employees? Possibly privately? You are not a therapist or a career counsellor.

As a manager, your main task is to lead your staff successfully. So be available for the concerns of your staff, whether for questions, conflicts or ideas. This will result in fewer mistakes in the future that would otherwise take a lot of time to correct. In addition, your employees will simply be more satisfied because they are listened to and feel taken seriously. Why not cultivate the “open-door policy”: If the door is open, the employees are allowed in!

6. Keep your promises and commitments

The best way to scare away your good professionals as quickly as possible is not to keep the promises you have made. Because it is not enough to take time for your employees and listen to them, you also have to draw consequences from the conversations. If you make promises, keep them. Be it simply an appointment or even a salary increase. If employees feel disappointed, lied to or even deliberately deceived by you, trust is lost and dismissal (whether internal or actual) will not be long in coming.

7. Employees are only human too

An employee has to be professional and carry out his assigned tasks without objection. He can live out his dreams and desires in his free time. This is unfortunately an unspoken but often practised maxim of action in companies. This leads to employees who withdraw into inner emigration and do not help you to move your company or department forward.

Help your employees to develop according to their strengths, promote them to appropriately fitting positions, enable further training, develop together a concept of what the employee’s professional future could look like. In addition, have understanding for personal or private crises and for the fact that we are all only human after all. Where employees can develop, feel taken seriously, supported and simply feel good, they will not switch to the competition, but will stand behind you and the company 100 %.

A survey published on Statista makes it clear once again: a good boss actively promotes his employees, makes clear decisions and has an open ear for his employees. Take these tips to heart and prevent your skilled workers from quitting before it’s too late. Because the competition never sleeps…