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Employees leave their managers, not the organization.

By Numly - Leadership Coaching Group
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A couple of years into the uncertainty caused by the pandemic has had the employees re-evaluate their work-life balance and prioritize their well-being above their employers.  Employee-work patterns are now becoming apparent – and are raising existential questions in the employee’s mind such as ‘am I contributing to my organization’s growth story? or ‘am getting the right value proposition from my manager or employer?’. It is beginning to sound like employers are going to have to work harder to satisfy this rationale.  

The hybrid working model is here to stay, and when it comes to the feeling of disengagement, there are other contributing factors such as the lack of faith in senior leadership and surge of cutbacks and reorganizations. Analysis from Gartner indicates that almost 46% of the workforce is projected to adapt the hybrid work style, with managers and employees becoming distributed, and their relationships asynchronous. The new normalization of work has caused a major shift in the mindsets of employees with bigger expectations from their managers – with managers being seen more as an emotional support system than just someone who has limited visibility into the realities of their day-to-day. 

However, it cannot be argued that this chronic uncertainty compounded by the ‘Great Resignation’ was an eye-opener for employers and is essentially a ‘workplace’ issue. Interesting insights were revealed in terms of what a quality job feels like, and nearly half are willing to quit to find one. Gary Knight, HR department director at BSI, said in an interview that “reversing the tide in an organization requires managers who care, who engage, and who give workers a sense of purpose, inspiration, and motivation to perform. Such managers give people reason to stay.”

Organizations must start considering the fact that they are now operating in an employee’s market. Therefore, the onus of providing what they are seeking – greater work-life balance, well-being, mental health support, a sense of purpose, and belonging lies with the employer. Engagement is also a critical factor, for which a report from Gallup states that it takes a 20% pay hike to lure most employees away from a manager who engages them, and next to nothing to poach most disengaged workers.

The Ultimate Value Drivers for the Current Workforce

Managers need to initiate conversations around the value drivers for the modern workforce. This means, identifying areas where there may be a shortfall of empathetic leadership and converging on what is integral to their people. Nevertheless, it is up to managers and organizations to invest in understanding the drivers behind the employee, irrespective of whether it is a ‘face-to-face’, ‘coffee chat’, or other forms of meaningful 1-on-1 conversations. When it comes to delivering on employees’ expectations, some of the value drivers that managers should examine are:

  • Value

Managers must bring in the element of human-centered experience in the interactions with their reports. Employees who actively seek these interactions – that are not just ‘transactions’, are the most likely to stay. In fact, almost 54% of employees polled cited ‘value for the work they do’ as the reason for leaving their jobs.

  • Belonging and Purpose

Employees must feel a sense of renewed belonging or shared purpose in their work and interpersonal connect with their managers. If they feel like they belong and are cognizant of how their work contributes to the collective strategic direction and vision of the organization, they are more motivated to perform with their highest potential.  

  • Engagement

Employees must feel connected to their job, manager, and therefore, the organization. Cultivating a culture of employee well-being and engagement is vital for effective communication and increased collaboration for desirable business outcomes. The bottom line is very apparent – a fundamental understanding of how to get to know your employee as a complete, ‘three-dimensional’ person is key to driving engagement.

  • Flexibility

Employees must be given the freedom to work in ways that support their well-being. The cognizance of working in an unsupportive environment gives all the more incentive for employees to quit than return to the office full time. Flexibility, therefore, must not be viewed as a perk, but a demanded and necessary benefit.

  • Feedback

Employees leave when feedback mechanisms are not in place. With managers being a critical influence in employees’ work and priorities, the responsibility of providing real-time, effective feedback to help resolve challenges lies with them. 

How peer coaching for managers helps build rapport in their teams and retain talent

Author Rachel Pacheco’s book says that building managing skills before you ever have your first direct report is vital for cultivating the very tenets of management. In a nutshell, the role of the manager is becoming that of a coach. A statistic released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that 76% of employees claim that their manager creates the ‘culture’ at work. Also, multiple studies have proved that personalized coaching models that group managers into ‘manager-specific’ peer-coaching practices help evaluate high-value techniques to focus on people. 

In the context of present-day organizational environments, Numly believes that the pinnacle of retaining talent is reached through the support of peer coaching that synthesizes insights from collaboration, empathy, social dexterity, and emotional intelligence. Coaching is increasingly becoming central to the fabric of a supportive culture and less of exact science. It is more about bolstering connections with your people for nurturing growth – skills, and behaviors that managers across all levels need to develop and deploy. The core principles of our peer coaching programs are centered around the behaviors that are modeled by a manager all the way down to every employee. 

Jim Clifton, the CEO of Gallup, wrote about something that is never taught in business schools. In his employee engagement study, he said that  “The single biggest decision you make in your job—bigger than all the  rest—is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person ‘manager’, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits -nothing.The solution, is, therefore, to invest in your managers, so they can model the right behaviors to further invest in their people.

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