Today I found out one of my good friends left their position at a well known technology company that many people would “kill” to work for. I asked him why he left, expecting an answer like “I needed more of a challenge”, or “I outgrew the position and there was no where for me to grow”, but instead he said “I couldn’t work with my boss”.
As he said this I thought about all the people leaving their
positions because they simply couldn’t work with their manager. The work
was stimulating, the team was great but their manager was unbearable to
work with. In these situations, what seems to happen is companies lose
good employees on a regular basis and all the managers sit around a
conference table trying to address employee attrition, developing
strategies for employee retention.
Employee retention is a real problem that all managers face. The key
to being able to keep the good employees is not so much the salary you
offer them or even the actual work, it is more about how you manage them
and how they feel working under you as their manager. Do they feel
valued within your team? Do you provide them with timely feedback? Do
they feel your support as a manager leading their team or company?
Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who was best known for creating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which can be seen below.
Source: Diana Vanbrabant
As a manager we are able to affect three levels of needs within this
hierarchy – safety, love & belonging and esteem. These 3 levels
represents different elements within the workplace. The first level
- safety refers to job security, career progression as well as health
benefits and perhaps even gym membership. How do your employees feel
about their job? Are they constantly afraid of cuts due to the
recession? Do they know that as a manager you care about their wellbeing
as well as their work?
The next level is love and belonging. People want to feel as if they
are making a difference and are part of something bigger. As a manager
how you approach giving out tasks, mentoring employees and interacting
with them show how much you value their work. It is your duty as a
manager to show employees how their work is making a difference and is
part of a much larger plan. The worst thing for an employee is for them
to think they are just another cog in a machine.
The last level is esteem. This refers to confidence and respect. It
is important to manage your staff in terms of how they feel towards the
work and to their peers and managers. Respect within the workplace is
extremely important and can be the difference between keeping a good
employee or losing them. Training and development when necessary is a
good way to boost confidence and equip staff with the right skills.
Investing in your staff to help them upskill benefits both the company
and the employees. Zig Ziglar once said that there was only one thing
worse than training (or growing) your staff and having them leave, and
that is not training or developing them and having them stay.
A Florida State University (FSU) professor and two of his doctoral
students have conducted a study which highlights the impacts of an
abusive or poor manager/boss. They surveyed over 700 people who work in a
variety of jobs and asked for their opinions of supervisor treatment on
The study revealed these results:
39%: Their supervisor failed to keep promises
37%: Their supervisor failed to give credit when due
31%: Their supervisor gave them the “silent treatment” in the past year.
27%: Their supervisor made negative comments about them to other employees or managers.
24%: Their supervisor invaded their privacy.
23%: Their supervisor blames others to cover up mistakes or minimize embarrassment
Source: Florida State University
These points act as a good checklist to see how you are managing your
staff because at the end of the day employees leave managers and
bosses, not companies!
7th Feb 2013 – This article made it to #1 on Hacker News. Here is the thread so you can see the discussion that went on - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5176140