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03DecStop the Revolving Door of Employee Turnover with a Supervisor Training Program

Constantly recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding and then starting over again? Finding it hard to get traction with constant turnover on the team? You’re not alone.

The 2017 Human Capital Benchmarking Report from SHRM says that the average turnover rate was 18%.  Considering that filling each position can cost a company the equivalent of six months’ pay, turnover at this rate can be quite costly for the organization.

According to Workstride and various sources, “high turnover is a result of poor management and a lack of employee engagement.”

The two go hand-in-hand. Poor management results in lower levels of engagement. Boosting engagement requires strong management… and that requires training your supervisors. Ultimately, with trained, capable managers, employee retention rates improve. 


When Your Company Needs a Supervisor Training Program ...

What Should I Do When Exit Interviews Indicate There’s a Problem in Management?

Unfortunately, the exit interview can be the first sign of a problem if you’re in HR or senior management. In that case, it’s too late to correct the problem for the departing employee. But you can address issues to prevent this from happening again! Here are five next steps:

  1. supervisor training program employee turnoverDon’t assume this is an aberration. It may be the first time you’ve heard an employee complaint about inattention or other signs of poor management. But remember that a lot of people simply don’t speak up. They suffer in silence or leave without saying a word.

  2. Check in with the manager. Expect a response that is defensive and shifts blame to the departing employee. This is only natural, and chances are that the manager truly believes this is the case. Let this manager know that the conversation isn’t punitive. Rather, you’re offering coaching and development to support his or her continued growth.

  3. Watch for other indicators to see if the departing employee’s impressions are shared by others. Dissatisfaction with a manager and a lack of employee engagement shows up in other ways – low productivity, low morale, high absenteeism, complaining and negativity, customer issues, or little participation in meetings.

  4. If you see signs that others are unhappy, work with the manager to conduct 1-to-1 meetings, a 360-degree review, or a pulse survey. Find a method to get feedback from employees about what is causing them to feel disengaged and what changes would help them feel differently.

  5. Using this feedback, work with the manager to create an action plan. At this point, this does not need to be a performance improvement plan. Instead, it’s a development plan. Unless this has been a recurring issue and/or the feedback from employees warrants swift action, you owe it to this manager to help correct whatever’s wrong. After diagnosing the problem(s), provide appropriate support to give this manager the training and tools needed to improve.

How Can We Improve Scores on Our Employee Engagement Survey?

Employee engagement is directly linked to an employee’s interaction with his or her supervisor. The actions and behaviors of the manager have the greatest impact on the way the employee feels about their work and the company. Research and studies underscore the links between engagement levels and how well supervisors are trained. 

To improve the level of employee engagement, organizations must focus first on supervisor training programs.

Training for supervisors that engages employees is not technical. It’s not about being better at the work they oversee.

The training that leads to employee engagement is for soft skills. The skills managers need include:

  1. Communication skills, starting with improved listening
  2. Setting clear expectations
  3. Giving feedback to help employees know what to do so they will succeed
  4. Delegating for development and stepping back from the frontline work
  5. Mining for diverse points of view and ensuring all team members have a voice
  6. Making decisions and solving problems in transparent and predictable ways
  7. Coaching (a discrete skill, not the same as mentoring or managing)
  8. Conducting 1:1 and team meetings that are effective and inclusive
  9. Leading change proactively
  10. Demonstrating leadership behaviors (not to be confused with management)


These are the skills that impact the day-to-day interactions between employees and their supervisors. Those encounters, formal and informal, throughout the day, will determine whether or not the employee feels an emotional connection that causes them to apply additional discretionary effort.

For extra support, managers can use this daily checklist for reminders about the simple behaviors that can boost employee engagement.


How Can We Retain Our Top Talent without Bribing Them to Stay? 

HR Drive’s 2017 survey found that 75% of employee turnover is preventable (through the direct supervisor).

To retain top talent, organizations must focus first on training supervisors.

It’s a myth that money is the main reason people seek new job opportunities. They may find a job that pays more, and they may cite the new job’s pay as the reason for leaving. But what matters is the reason they started looking for a new job in the first place.

Engaged employees aren’t actively looking for a new place to work.

Your total rewards package, purpose, and ability to infuse the work with meaning all count in job satisfaction. But true contentment with the work comes primarily through interactions with the supervisor and co-workers. 

Giving someone a raise to retain them is a short-term strategy. If they earn more but are still not fully engaged, you’re paying more to get less than you would with an engaged employee. What’s more, employees who get counteroffers to stay usually leave within a year, according to a study from the Capital H Group.

To retain top talent, train supervisors so that they can provide feedback, coaching, and development opportunities that challenge and engage employees.

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Topics: employee engagement, supervisory training

   
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