Employee retention has become a key year-on-year objective across companies today. The importance of retaining key talent across functions has become imperative. With the focus on having to meet the right talent, considerations mean that HR professionals have a tough task on their hands. The fact that higher employee retention and a low attrition rate are the product of multiple forces, doesn’t make the task any easier.
Today, there are multiple levers when it comes to considering what impacts retention or aggravates attrition. But most of such levers to managing employee retention often have a key component that determines how effectively can changing one aspect, influence employee decision. A component which often gets ignored or bypassed in multiple human resource management discussions. This component is the pivotal role that managers play in ensuring that retention strategies are successful.
Role of the managers
Since the interaction between managers and employees defines much of the employee’s experience through the company, a bad experience is often strong enough to overshadow many other aspects of an employee value proposition. Today managers, in addition, to being responsible for employee productivity levels, are also tasked with keeping employees engaged and motivated. Although most of this is intuitive, reports show many managers lack such important skills. Given how demographic preferences are evolving across key talent pools, managers being hired now require better employee management skills in addition to core expertise. This helps boost retention and address many of the key talent issues.
Hiring the right managers
Recruiting managers who possess the soft skills to effectively navigate the delicate dynamic of maintaining a relationship that boosts retention often has a clear impact: higher profitability, higher productivity rates, and quality standards being met. An AON report on Global Engagement Trends 2018, notes a significant change when it comes to turnover and falling engagement rates as a response to effective management. These changes, if built sustainably across levels of the company can help HR professionals bring about larger cultural shifts that balance talent needs with business priorities. It also helps ensure that a company’s productivity level grows while employees remain engaged and motivated. But for many such HR policies, aimed at bringing about such changes without the company having the right crop of managers that are consciously looking into managing attrition and retaining important employees. In addition, managers are often the first point of real contact within the company and are also tasked with identifying the right talent fit of employees. Erroneous decision making on such aspects can have huge talent costs attached to it. Reports suggest that failing to identify the right talent, costs companies billions of dollars annually.
But finding the right managerial talent and creating sustainable practices which can be tweaked for respective businesses still remain the difficult part of the engagement equation. Although keeping the workforce engaged might be an intuitive step for managers and HR professionals, finding the right batch of managerial talent isn’t always possible. So in such cases, companies should choose to build rather than buy. Although managers are often given skill-building opportunities to help them perform better, the talent aspect still remains rather a hit and miss area when it comes to their ability to retain talent. Gallup studies show that even today, across US markets, managers remain disconnected to such vital employee issues.
Training the managers
The solution lies in helping managers become better coaches. Investing time and resources into helping your managers develop and improve their skills is critically important to reducing attrition. Too often new managers are thrown into their roles without adequate training, and this relative lack of experience can cause big problems especially when it comes to coaching employees effectively.
Managers today have a significant impact when it comes to motivating and engaging their employees, and thus, it becomes hugely imperative that they possess the right skills to do so. But studies like Gallup annual engagement studies found that first-time managers are not getting the training they need in key areas—including communication skills, transitioning to a new role as manager, and interpersonal skills. Many still remain driven by business goals and driving engagement and monitoring attrition remains low on their to-do list. Many reportedly are also not getting the required help and assistance they require to set goals and rightly implement many of the HR policies meant to retain employees. Today, it is imperative to skill managers to undertake vital talent development conversations around performance to enable them to identify, develop and retain talented workers. It’s also critical that HR teams help their managers understand the type of discussions they need to have, when to follow-up effectively and how to document interactions to create a uniform way of monitoring and creating engaging processes across the company. This includes giving them the training and tools they need to drive the process and provide transparency for everyone involved.
With the new generation of managers moving though leadership ladders across sectors, they need training in key areas—including communication skills, transitioning to a new role as a manager, and interpersonal skills. Often undermined, such skills prove vital in keeping employees engaged and helps HR better implement its own strategies.