Engaging Leadership Strategies Keep Employees from Quitting

Good employees leave their jobs for all kinds of reasons, but recent research says that the leading cause workers exit companies is “bad managers.”

Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace study revealed that 51 percent of currently employed adults in the U.S. are actively searching for new jobs because of their managers, even though they enjoyed their work, liked the company and were happy with their pay and perks.

The Mercer Global Talent Trends 2017 Study indicated that 34 percent of employees plan to leave their company within 12 months. Reasons why hinted at this report’s findings. This bloodletting statistic is cited in Inc.com’s December, 2017 article “Why Do Employees Quit Their Jobs? Because Bosses Don’t Provide Them With the 1 Thing They Want the Most.”

So, what do employees want?


Marcel Schwantes, principal-founder of Leadership from the Core, says, “Leaders at any level must consider their employees as business partners and engage their workforce in an entrepreneurial way.”

According to Schwantes, that means employees want forums to share their business-building ideas and, if their ideas are implemented, they expect relevant rewards. They want transparent information sharing throughout the organization as well as influence in formulating company strategy.

No doubt, flattening the hierarchy, opening the information floodgates and empowering employees to behave like entrepreneurs could require bosses in many organizations to change the way they lead. And that may necessitate a change in company culture starting at the top. Senior level executives wishing to create an “engagement culture” should review who is currently in management roles, put programs in place to develop their engagement leadership skills or work to find different responsibilities for them.

Inc.com’s article “Why People Quit Their Jobs, Exactly?” published in May, 2017 outlines ways managers can lead employees to achieve their highest performance levels. It says that the best managers are completely honest about what is happening within the company and issues that impact employee lifestyle such as pay raises, benefits, changes in the work environment and time off. Leaders explain how they too are impacted by these changes, and how working as a team can bring about positive change. This shows that everyone, including the leader, is accountable for results and shares ownership of successes. A leader’s direct, supportive and empathetic communications approach forges teams and builds employee trust.

Taking a genuine interest in employees’ career development does the same. Leaders look for opportunities to tailor work, training and growth opportunities around the individual’s strengths and innate talents. This exhibits a managerial investment in keeping employees at the company.

When productive employees don’t feel career advancement exists within the organization, they will seek it elsewhere. They are most likely to have other opportunities readily available. A January, 2018 article by Gallup entitled “Talent Walks: Why Your Best Employees Are Leaving” says that talented employees performing at high levels leave most often because of minimal engagement. Often managers make the mistake of thinking stellar performers are safely left on their own.

Good employees quit managers, not companies.

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