Three Strategies For Retaining Employees

It seems everyone is struggling with employee retention, and hiring replacements has become increasingly difficult as well.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, author Erica Keswin shares some straightforward insights into how these challenges might best be met.

Her article refers to Gallup data explaining the critical role front line managers play with respect to retention (i.e., “People don’t leave companies, they leave managers). It also references a 2021 study of 3,000 American workers by GoodHire in which 82% said they would potentially quit their job because of a bad manager.

Ultimately, Keswin concludes, “To retain your managers — and the employees who report to them — you need to invest in their development.”

If this rings true to you, here are three ways Keswin suggests you can do it.

Elevate the role of the manager.

At the October Future Forum Conference, Georgetown professor and author Ella Washington, captured the issue perfectly when she said, “Connecting with employees is often seen as ‘extra’ work for managers, so it goes to the bottom of the list. Companies need to make it clear — it is not extra; it is essential.”

Front line managers’ abilities to lead and manage must be developed, and they must be recognized as leaders by top management as well as their teams. When people feel like they’re supported by their manager (and believe their manager has the ability to support them) there is a direct correlation with not only engagement, but retention.

Create room to grow.

Managing during these chaotic times has been challenging even for the most experienced managers, let alone those new to the job. And because employees are often promoted into managerial positions because they’re good at their day jobs — not necessarily because they have the skills to coach or mentor — it’s imperative that they’re given the opportunity to develop those skills.

Provide peer-to-peer support for managers.

Even the most elevated and well-trained managers are going to have a lot of work to do. Ongoing support is essential as they keep up with continued uncertainty.

You can read Keswin’s full article here.