Some organizations accept that staff come and go as merely a part of business. They don’t realize that it could be one of the first and most important symptoms of a deep underlying problem. If your organization or a particular team is suffering from an increasing rate of employee turnover, then you need to take a hard look at your managers.

The first signs that a manager needs guidance

Though it may be the most obvious, high employee turnover is not the first symptom of a workforce that has become disengaged with your business, your values, and your mission. By and large, employees are reluctant to leave their jobs. The first signs of trouble ahead are the classic signs of disengagement:

  • In-house conflicts
  • Boredom
  • Lateness
  • Poor performance from previous stars
  • Absence
  • Burnout

Here’s a tip for all businesses, no matter their size: keep a close eye on your statistics for signs of an increase from the norm in any of the above metrics. This will likely be the first concrete proof that you have a manager who needs to learn how to engage employees.

The cost of doing nothing and sticking with the manager that fails to engage employees is staggering. Gallup estimates that this costs American companies more than $350 billion every year.

Flawed corrective actions

Identifying a problem is only the first step. The cost to the American business persists because of poor strategic decisions taken to correct the situation. Instead of looking for real, long-term solutions, senior management more often than not takes one of two options:

First, they meet with the manager and discuss the situation. The manager makes a number of excuses, all pointing to external influences outside of their direct control or they blame the staff that have left and explain that those who left ‘were never going to be company people’. The result of such a meeting is either wasted senior management time in tackling the external problems that don’t really exist; accepting the manager’s excuses and sticking with the status quo; or challenging the manager to improve with no support to do so.

The second course of action is even more drastic, and involves replacing the unsuccessful manager with either an internal resource or after an expensive external search. Often the new manager will be hired at a salary greater than the manager recently fired, who may also have received a sizeable compensation package.

Both courses of action are deeply flawed. Reasons for underperformance will continue to exist and, without support for improvement, it is unlikely that a manager will acquire the strategies and techniques to engage employees. Hiring and firing costs huge sums of money, time, and effort, with no guarantee that the new manager will prove any better than the last.

Can you afford to lose your manager?

It may be that your underperforming manager was previously thought to be integral to your company’s performance. They may have been a top-performing salesperson, the most accurate data cruncher in the finance department, or the support person that all your customers ask for. You don’t want to lose that kind of commitment, expertise, and experience.

They could have been the one person whom colleagues turned to for advice and help before the promotion took its toll. Wouldn’t it be better to reignite the potential that earned the promotion and look for ways for your manager to learn how to engage employees from a position of responsibility and confidence?

Four ways for a manager to engage employees and reduce employee turnover

Here are four ways your managers can better engage employees. A manager coached in these techniques will find they use each of them all the time:

  • “Working for”

Composing work assignments, discussing with employees, and monitoring progress along the way to the agreed upon goal so that each assigned task is completed.

  • “Working with”

This is a more collaborative approach: asking team members to provide input to develop objectives, processes, and procedures. This approach encourages employees and managers to work together to form a joint solution to a problem. Shared project ownership is a big win when it comes to engaging employees.

  • “Being with”

Relationship management begins with discovery of people’s inner selves. This is usually impossible when all minds are focused on the ‘here and now’ at work. Spending time with employees on activities unrelated to work and investing time and energy into the relationship, results in being rewarded with greater commitment, loyalty, and focus on results at work.  The time and energy investment pays off through the bottom line in your business.

  • “Being For”

This is the support of employees by demonstration of care for them and their wellbeing. Showing them that their professional and personal success matters to you and letting them know that you ‘have their back,' results in loyalty and commitment.  It is mutually beneficial to "be there for" one another and an investment worth making.

Invest in coaching managers how to engage employees

Investing in coaching managers how to engage employees is the most progressive and successful way to turnaround your employee turnover problem. The benefits delivered are very real:

  • Less stress through unnecessary and unproductive disciplinary measures
  • You retain the manager’s expertise and experience
  • No cost of expensive hiring and firing, to include costly external searches for potentially unproductive replacements
  • Managers have a deeper understanding of themselves, especially their strengths and weaknesses
  • Maangers are able to produce results faster
  • Managers become more confident to engage employees

A manager who knows how to engage employees will reduce your employee turnover, reduce your costs, increase productivity, and be directly responsible for growing the bottom line.

Discover how to turn the four employee engagement techniques into direct and positive action by downloading our free guide “Ways to Engage Your Employees”. You’ll find tips and advice that help you and your managers discover their abilities and capabilities as well as actionable techniques for those that want to know how to engage employees.

And as part of our commitment to you, we’ll follow your first download with more management coaching advice that will help ensure your managers take the first steps to becoming the leader you always knew was inside them.

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