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  • Heather Polivka

What is the most effective, yet overlooked solution to employee retention and engagement?

I had a work experience with a boss that I loved. I was given opportunities, felt empowered, and I was taking on things that I had never done before. I had such great confidence because my boss believed in my capabilities and supported my ideas.

I stayed with the company much longer than I had originally planned when I joined.

And then… my boss changed. Within a year our team was decimated, and I realized that who I’m reporting to plays such a vital role in my satisfaction and contentment.

I know I’m not the only one with this experience, and this led me to the question: How can organizations keep employees engaged, supported and in it for the long haul?

A study conducted by Harvard found that inertia is the reason why most people stay at their current job. Different forces can either strengthen or weaken inertia.

The three forces they found to impact inertia are external opportunities, job satisfaction and feeling valued, and company culture and work environment.

These three factors can either strengthen or weaken our inertia to stay at our current workplace. Let’s zero in on one of these three factors; job satisfaction and feeling valued.

What is the number one reason why people leave their work?

Their manager.

Lack of growth and development opportunities in our work is the 2nd reason people leave their place of work. Managers play a key role in growth and development.

The relationship we have with our manager can inspire us and strengthen our inertia to stay at our workplace or it can make us feel undervalued and weaken our inertia.

In fact, the relationship between a direct manager and the team member is the #1 impact on employee engagement.

Let’s talk about how managers typically come into their position and the ways in which they are often put at a disadvantage:

Employees tend to be promoted into a management position based on their strong work performance as an individual, but they often lack the people skills and effective management tools to inspire and motivate their team. There are two completely different skillsets at play between performing the job and leading a team.

The professional Bureau of Economic Research studied sales organizations at 214 firms, and they discovered that the promotion to manager was seen as a reward for the top individual salesperson. However, they were rewarding them with a position that didn’t match or align with the skills that they performed highly at.

Not only are the skillsets completely different, but only 30% of managers are trained at all! They lucky ones who do get training, their training tends to focus on compliance or technical skills versus power skills (aka soft skills). Power skills are a 2:1 predictor of success in leadership over technical skills.

What is the most effective, overlooked solution to retention and employee engagement?

First and foremost is to provide the training, development, and support to new and first-time managers. Let’s not make them struggle to figure out their new role and learn new skills, and make their teams suffer in the process.

With such a prevalent training gap for frontline managers, I realized that the best solution to this problem would be to develop the Awesome People Leader Program to provide bite-sized micro lessons, a private online community, and coaching that provides long term solutions to this problem. All delivered in a mobile-friendly, practical, and actionable manner.

We curate content from a breadth of thought-leaders and package it up in an easy-to-understand and fast-to-absorb format. It is designed to work with how learning actually happens. Awesome People Leaders is mobile, practical, and actionable.

By focusing on frontline management training and enlivening the work environment across a variety of business settings and sizes, we can increase the engagement and inertia of our employees, and reward our businesses with increased productivity and profit in return.

Learn about the Awesome People Leader new manager development program. Click here.

Schedule time with Heather. Click here.

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