It's a well-known fact in business: employees leave their manager, not their company. In fact, 42% of UK employees have quit a job because of their boss, and 41% of staff think they're under-appreciated by their manager.
The latter group of employees are on the cusp of leaving - perhaps they're waiting a few months to see if the situation improves, or they're already looking for another job.
High staff turnover rates can cripple a business. Not only do you have to deal with higher hiring costs, but the loss of morale in the staffroom can be even more costly. If you want to reduce staff turnover, tackling management is an effective way to start.
Out with the old
Old-school management styles are on their way out in most sectors. Does management in your business have any of these hallmarks?
- Dictatorial. Communication tends to be one-way.
- Stick, not carrot. All about deadlines, competition and the risk of failure, rather than rewards for success.
- Wages or salary is all the recognition staff need. Extra perks and appreciation rarely feature.
This type of management style looks increasingly old-fashioned. Of course, it may still be effective for some businesses, but if reducing staff turnover is your goal, persevering with this approach is unlikely to work.
Newer management styles tend to work a little differently. Here are some of the common signs of 'new school' management.
- Communicative and supportive. These managers give feedback and have an open door policy.
- There is respect and trust between bosses and staff.
- A focus on employee completion of tasks rather than dictating processes and working hours.
Most businesses use a combination of old school and new school management styles, with varying success.
To become the boss that everyone loves, you may need to modernise your approach to management, or at least evaluate your current management strategy.
As we mentioned at this start of this blog post, nearly half of employees don't feel their boss gives them enough credit. Tackle this at your business by overhauling your approach to praise and recognition.
Send thank you emails, stop by employee workspaces to praise them if they've done a great job, dish out prizes at an annual company awards show. The way you give appreciation will depend on your business and your budget, but every boss can find ways to show more appreciation of the efforts of their employees.
Trust and respect
Staff will enjoy working under you if you can show that you trust and respect them, and don't just view them as a negative number on your balance sheet.
Delegate tasks, give staff freedom to work in the way that they find most effective, consider offering flexible hours, help staff fit work around family commitments, let staff take free time off for medical appointments, and allow employees to dress casually if they aren't doing any client-facing work.
All of these factors act as perks, making your company a more attractive place to work - but without costing a fortune.
Not all these measures are practical for every business, but by switching your default mindset to a more trusting one, you'll soon receive a positive response.
When something goes wrong and it's your fault, don't push the blame onto a junior staff member who's in less of a position to defend themselves. This will hardly go down well with your employees. Instead, employees will respect you if you admit to your mistakes and take the blame.
The above measures might seem to blur the line between boss and employee, but here's a trait that today's employees value as much in a manager as the employees of yesteryear did: decisiveness.
Employees want their boss to make decisions and stick to them. It's infuriating to deal with a manager who keeps changing their mind and adjusts plans as conditions change. There's a big difference between being pragmatic and being indecisive - the former is a sensible approach to take, the latter disrupts your business.
Why should employees give their all if you might turn around tomorrow and tell them you've decided to take a different route?
Updating your management style doesn't mean you're being weak. You still need to be competent, strong and decisive - but not arrogant, stubborn or unnecessarily strict.
If you want to reduce absenteeism, increase employee morale and be the boss that everyone loves; being a little more accessible and open with employees is the obvious place to begin.
Effective management is never as easy as the best managers make it appear, but by implementing small changes to staff management processes in your business, you'll soon see improvements in staff engagement and retention rates.
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