4 ways managers can keep talent from jumping ship



While there are many factors that may influence an employee’s decision to jump ship, as US research firm Gallup puts it, “in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue."


As far as issues go, staff turnover is an expensive one to have. From recruitment costs, to the investment in on-boarding to ongoing training, the total outlay to replace an employee in Australia can exceed 150% of that employee’s salary.

So what can managers do to keep the best employees from leaving? Here are four ways to keep your top talent on board, and influence retention in the right way:

1. Set expectations up front


Never over-sell the job to get a desirable candidate on board, or you'll risk losing them once reality hits. Instead, make sure your employee knows what you need from them and be clear on what they can expect from you in return.

Honest dialogue is key. If an employee knows what to expect from the culture and the role before they’ve even started, you can make sure the majority of on-the-job surprises they encounter are good ones.

2. Provide room to move


In Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs, ‘self-actualisation’ – the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be – sits right at the top of the pyramid.

When this need for personal growth drives an employee toward their next career opportunity, it should always be easier to find that opportunity within their company than outside it. Make sure your employees have a career management plan in place, and ensure you have a well-defined, well-communicated internal mobility program for them to access when that desire to advance kicks in.

3. Don’t sell yourself short


As important as it is not to over-sell a job, it is just as important for managers not to discount those things that reinforce your reputation as a great place to work.

Remind employees of why they should stay on board by highlighting all the great opportunities your company has to offer. And should you ever make a top 10 list or win an industry award, make sure you shout this win from head office, down. Top performers like to work for top-performing teams and it’s important that these achievements are shared with new starters and long-term employees alike.

Identifying which parts of the company and its culture resonant most strongly with employees will help you understand what makes people want to stay. And you can be sure that it will also help you understand why they go.

4. Empower your employees


Micro-management creates extra pressure, suggests distrust and stifles creativity. For these reasons and more, very few employees respond to micro-management, and very few business practices benefit from this restrictive management style.

By contrast, when you empower employees to make their own decisions, they feel trusted, confident and inspired. To keep top talent engaged, respect their autonomy, and trust them to deliver their best work as a result.

Strong communication between managers and employees is key to reducing staff turnover. From setting expectations to empowering employees, the best managers know how to steer the ship to keep top talent on board, instead of losing them over the side.
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SEEK Insights & Resources New Zealand

SEEK is the destination of choice for job-seekers and hirers in New Zealand, acting as the conduit between hirers looking to fill vacant roles and candidates looking for work across many and varied industries. SEEK's mission is to help people live...

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