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A simple answer to your employee retention and attraction issues...

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

First let's look at why they are leaving? Things have changed a bit.

For years the #1 reason people left their job was due to their direct manager. While this is still a top factor, a new study done by flex jobs shows that poor management (56%) has moved to third. So, what is the new top reason people are quitting their jobs? Toxic Company Culture is at the top of the list (62%) followed closely by low wages (59%).

Another study conducted by Pew Research Center shows a lack of opportunity for advancement (63%) and feeling disrespected at work (57%) are also top reasons why Americans quit their jobs last year. I mention this because we are hearing from our clients that they are the two key reasons folks are leaving their jobs in the Cincinnati/Dayton area.

If we think about it, while poor management (the boss) isn’t statistically the #1 reason why people quit their job right now, the boss is still a major factor. Why? Because who creates and nurtures a company/department culture? The boss. Who shows respect or disrespect for their employees? The Boss. Who helps paint the picture about opportunities for advancement and professional development? Right! The BOSS.

Let’s look at what can be done to combat these top reasons people are leaving their jobs……You guessed it! Leadership development. Developing your leaders is the key to reducing turnover and increasing retention. But don’t take it from me. In a recent Gallup study they sited “The real fix is this simple: better leaders in the workplace. Managers need to be better listeners, coaches and collaborators. Great managers help colleagues learn and grow, recognize their colleagues for doing great work, and make them truly feel cared about. In environments like this, workers thrive.”

It gets really hard to leave an organization that delivers on culture, respect and opportunity for advancement. I know this from experience. In my previous role with Pearle Vision, it seemed like the rest of the company was in chaos but the Pearle Vision brand was solid. Our GM was amazing. He nurtured a culture in the brand that made it feel like we were on a calm island in a larger organization that was in turmoil. We were sheltered from much of the volatility happening around us and he took the brunt of it for his people. He also had surrounded himself with a leadership team who believed in the same. My direct supervisor was on that leadership team. She made me want to be better, to work harder, and excited to come to work every day even when it was hard. How? She had my back, always. She expected greatness but would help me get there if I needed help. She believed in me and encouraged me. She treated me like a peer but still managed to keep the hierarchy intact. She made it very hard to leave. In fact, it took me about 6 months to pull the trigger and it wasn’t for another job. My option to leave was based on joining my husband in the business he had already established. I had the opportunity to make my own hours, help my husband achieve his dream, make a lot more money….. and it took me 6 months. Funny thing is I still miss it. I miss working on that team. I miss it because of them.

One could argue that attraction is impacted by leadership development as well. When a company’s culture is healthy and it has a reputation for respecting and developing their people, people talk. Word gets around and suddenly your organization is THE place to work.

Conversely, if the culture is toxic, people are just numbers and there is no clear opportunity for advancement, your organization can become a pariah in the workplace. Throwing more pay out there to attract talent may work in the short term but we are hearing from our clients more and more that people who left their job for more pay are coming back and asking for their old job back because the pay wasn’t worth it. From a retention standpoint, anyone worth their salt has already left leaving you with people who are not top talent, not invested, not working hard.

The new employment landscape is demanding you develop your leaders and develop your people. It starts there.

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