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Is Poor Employee Retention a Reflection of Your Leadership Skills?

Improving employee retention is a goal almost every company can get behind. To put it simply, organizations benefit from keeping their talent in-house, developing brand and industry expertise that pay off exponentially. Plus, having long-term employees gives newer employees a sense that the company is a stable place to build a career.

If you’re struggling with employee retention, there are a number of factors that may be contributing, but often, employees leave jobs when they’re dissatisfied with their managers. As the saying goes, “people don’t quit jobs; they quit managers.” Gallup found that 75% of people quit their jobs to “get away from their manager” at some point during their careers.

Why? Managers arguably have the most direct impact on an employee’s day-to-day experience and whether they feel respected and valued in their role. If you’re falling short as a manager, your employees may begin looking elsewhere to find a more fulfilling role.

So, for all the managers out there, here are five ways to increase employee retention by leveling up your leadership skills.

1. Leverage each employee’s strengths—and pay them accordingly.

First and foremost, take a clear look at your team and what they’re responsible for. Is each person in a role that is leveraging their strengths? Are their specialties being utilized to their full potential? Most employees feel unsatisfied in roles where they know they’re not giving their all, so give your team members the chance to truly shine at what they do best. The catch? If that transition means giving employees more responsibility or expanding the scope of their role, make sure to pay or promote them accordingly.

2. Create a safe and inclusive environment.

Harvard Business Review found that the highest-performing teams all have one thing in common: psychological safety, which they define as the “belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake.” As a manager, you have the power to foster this kind of environment where professional talent thrives and everyone feels safe enough to voice their opinions. If your employees wouldn’t dare disagree with you or feel the need to hide their mistakes, you have room to improve.

3. Develop your employees’ skills toward their career goals.

One key difference between a “supportive” manager and a good manager is that the best managers are constantly advocating for their employees, helping them to develop the skills and experience that will move them towards their goals. If you have no idea where your employees see themselves in five years or you’d prefer to stifle their growth, you may be driving them away.

4. Provide visibility into potential career paths within your organization.

Speaking of career goals, employees tend to stay in organizations longer when they clearly understand what their growth path looks like. No one wants to show up every day knowing that they’ve already maxed out their potential within the company, so make sure you understand—and communicate—how your employees can continue to grow and evolve without jumping ship.

5. Offer salary transparency.

Lastly, salary transparency is becoming more common in companies with secure, satisfied employees. Salary transparency allows your employees to freely discuss their salaries together, potentially even publishing a list of titles within the company and their corresponding salary ranges. While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, research has actually found that the process builds trust and accountability between employer and employee.

If you’re losing employees left and right, chances are, you’re part of the problem. Assess the five situations above to make sure you’re fostering the kind of team environment that encourages employees to stick around.

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