The following post is submitted by Joyce Maroney, Executive Director of the Workforce Institute @Kronos. 

It’s been a long held belief among HR leaders that people don’t leave companies, they leave managers.  As a result, many organizations invest in management training and development to mitigate the risk that they’ll lose high performing workers as a result of poor management.  Is this a good investment?

Research published in 2017 from the Smarter Workforce Institute at IBM revealed that the number one reason people left their last job was due to a lack of job satisfaction (40%), with only 14% of respondents saying they had left their previous job because of their manager.  The research report “Should I Stay or Should I Go” , based on surveys of over 22,000 workers globally, found that almost as many respondents (39%) indicated that they left their last job for a variety of personal reasons such as spouse relocation, child care or health issues.   So have we been wrong to put so much emphasis on the role of the manager in employee retention?

Here at Kronos, we’ve made extensive investments in manager assessment and development that are paying significant dividends as measured by high employee engagement and low turnover.   We are winning accolades around the globe for being a great place to work.  We believe that the role of the manager is critical to sustaining the employee experience that leads to loyalty, retention and great business outcomes.

In order to take a closer look at these somewhat contradictory findings, I invited David Almeda, Chief People Officer at Kronos and Dr. Sheri Feinzig, director of the Smarter Workforce Institute at IBM to join me for a discussion of how to reconcile these findings to the general wisdom that people leave managers, not companies.

I asked them to share their insights on the following issues:

  • How surprising are these results?
  • Does this data take managers off the hook in any substantial way?
  • What can managers do to mitigate retention risk within their teams?

You can listen in on a recording of our conversation below:

What do you think? How important is the role of the manager in an organization when it comes to employees’ decisions to stay?

 

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