Training Managers to Improve Employee Retention

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Training Managers to Improve Employee Retention
The goal of virtually every business operating today is essentially the same: to make money. When it comes to the fine art of turning a profit, there are as many different factors that influence whether or not a company makes money as there are ways to make it. All successful companies begin by hiring people who best fit the position, and in the modern-day world of business, a considerable amount of time, effort, or money is invested in this endeavor. Once a stellar candidate has been hired, however, it does the company no good if, six months down the road, they quit because the working environment turned out not to be the right fit for them. Employees may leave a company for many different reasons, and many of those reasons frequently stem from a sense of general dissatisfaction with the way they are being managed. All too often, this important aspect of employee turnover gets the attention it deserves only after it becomes a serious problem. Improving managers' skills by giving them retention-oriented training is one of the most effective ways to reduce turnover, and it also has other benefits that contribute to making the company more successful.

Turnover: The Enemy of Every Business
Reducing turnover is currently a concern for almost every business, but a study conducted by the training firm Talent Keepers, Inc. indicates that in the near future it will become even more vital to a company's bottom line.

Growth of the U.S. born workforce during the last 20 years was 44%. For the next 20 years that growth will drop to zero. . . The Aspen Institute's Domestic Strategy Group summarizes it this way: Ignoring the labor and skill shortages "will threaten our productivity and growth, (and) our international competitiveness…The combination of slowing labor force growth and slowing skills growth looks particularly ominous." Hanging on to well-performing employees will reach a new level of urgency for organizations of all types and sizes.

At the same time, it's now widely understood that leaders, and the quality of the relationships they build with their direct reports, are the key to why people stay and what usually drives them away. . . . leadership development consistently appears at the top of the strategy list for organizations trying to remain successful and competitive. Companies consistently invest more time, energy and resources in developing present and future leaders than nearly any other business and performance improvement effort (Talent Keepers Case Studies, 2006).

Managers have a greater impact on their employees than perhaps they realize. Management and organization development consultant Susan M. Heathfield has studied the field of Human Resources for over 35 years and found that, "People leave managers and supervisors more often than they leave companies or jobs" (2007).

The quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to employee retention. . . It is not enough that the supervisor is well-liked or a nice person, starting with clear expectations of the employee, the supervisor has a critical role to play in retention. Anything the supervisor does to make an employee feel unvalued will contribute to turnover. Frequent employee complaints center on these areas:

-lack of clarity about expectations,
-lack of clarity about earning potential,
-lack of feedback about performance,
-failure to hold scheduled meetings, and
-failure to provide a framework within which the employee perceives he can succeed (Heathfield, 2007)

A satisfied employee typically knows clearly what will be expected of him at work each day. Change is inevitable in virtually any business endeavor, but an employee will ultimately rely on the front line supervisor to provide a specific framework within which they can know what is expected of them. (Heathfield, 2007)

Table 1.1 illustrates the results of a series of surveys given to managers and...
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