Employee retention is heavily dependent upon two key factors:
1. Leadership skills of management.
2. Human resource strategy.

No matter how wonderful your company is, people won’t stay if their front-line supervisor is an “untrained jerk” with poor people skills. Of course, if you have a definitive human resource strategy, the “untrained jerks” will no longer be managing your employees. In fact, he/she will probably be working for someone else. These words may be a little harsh, but in reality there are some managers out there with very poor people skills. Even the manager who doesn’t exactly fit this description but lacks basic people and leadership skills can drive employees to seek other opportunities.

10 Retention Reminders

1Managers are allowed to hold employees accountable through discipline and provide constructive feedback, but never at the same time.

2Managers should never ask why an employee does anything. Responding to the word “why” requires justification and evokes defensiveness. Try instead, “I would like to understand your reasons for …”

3There is no such thing as “constructive criticism.” Criticism creates discomfort and defensiveness. Consider reshaping the conversation in such a way that it becomes constructive feedback. This can be done by taking a positive approach on every issue.

4When providing constructive feedback, managers should encourage employees to listen to the substance of the discussion and avoid becoming defensive. Delivering constructive feedback well should be a key management skill and a training issue.

5Managers should never try constructive feedback in a situation unless they can actually suggest positive behavioral alternatives.

6 If an employee fails in a situation, the manager should recognize his/her failure to train, develop, support or communicate with the employee.

7Both sides should recognize the difficulties inherent in constructive feedback and recognize its importance in transmitting the experience required for growth.

8The employee should always confirm his/her understanding of the criticism by restating it in the form, “If I understand you correctly, you are saying…Is that correct?”

9If either party feels uncomfortable after a constructive feedback discussion, they should say so:

    A “Boss, I feel like I’ve just been punished because you…”
    B Joe, I feel that you became defensive because you…”

10When the system works, you have a win-win situation because you both have the same objectives. It works better if you try to help each other.

The Importance Of Management Training

Train your managers on coaching and mentoring. It will go a long way towards improving employee retention.

Regardless of your company size and number of employees, if you are committed to becoming an “Employer of Choice” (EOC), you must educate your management staff. All your managers - from warehouse supervisors up to the president - should receive specific leadership and people-skills training. Expecting your managers to create an EOC culture without training them in these skills is like asking Michael Jordan to play in the World Series. He’s a superb athlete, but he just doesn’t have the skill set to play major league baseball.

Provide the opportunity for your management staff to acquire the skill set necessary to promote retention. Remember, if your turnover rate is high, chances are there is a problem within the management ranks of the company.