Studies on the cost of employee turnover show that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs between 20% and a staggering 200% of that worker’s annual salary. And it’s more than the cost of advertising and training that one has to consider: replacing an experienced employee with a new one carries hidden costs like the loss of specialist knowledge, stress on the rest of the team and goodwill with regular customers or clients who might miss dealing with a familiar face. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see why retaining staff is one of the most important skills for a manager. It’s also an attainable goal, since one of the top reasons why employees leave jobs is due to 'bad' management.
Here are four management mistakes that can cost you valuable employees, and how not to make them.
1. Not acknowledging their efforts
Everyone responds well to praise, and if your employees are putting in the effort and getting results, but not receiving any acknowledgement, they’ll feel neglected and resentful. To keep workers doing their best work, make sure you take some time to look for the good things they’re doing, acknowledge them without a caveat, and make the praise specific and authentic.
2. Not developing their talents
Good employees want to be learning new things and building on their skill base. Training carries with it a cost to the workplace, either in educational costs or time away from normal tasks, and as such it can be tempting to just let things roll on without changing. But by drawing out the best in your workers and offering them the chance to hone those skills, you’ll be upskilling your team and reducing the chance that your top talent will get bored and look elsewhere.
3. Overworking them
It’s tempting to load up your high achievers with even more work, since you know that it’ll get done and done well. But from your employee’s perspective, they’re being punished for their own competence. Bear in mind that after 50 hours of weekly work, productivity drops rapidly, so there’s little or no reward for requiring extra work and a lot of risks. Instead, think about whether there are simpler tasks that can be delegated down to newer workers so your high performers can get their teeth into the challenging stuff and still make it home for dinner.
4. Micromanaging them
It’s important not to let your staff have so much autonomy that they feel ignored, but be careful not to go the other way either. Your employees aren’t likely to appreciate you looking over their shoulder all the time, or requiring that they cc you in on every email. Micromanaging may feel like good risk management, but it engenders a culture of mistrust amongst your employees which may translate to a higher turnover. It can be difficult to let go, but the best way to avoid micro managing is to prioritise what matters and what isn’t as critical, and delegate the latter category to employees. Make a habit of stepping back and it will start to come more naturally.
If you want your best people to stay, you need to think carefully about how you treat them. While good employees are as tough as nails, their talent gives them an abundance of options. You need to make them want to work for you.
This article was written by Tanya Ashworth-Keppel on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Zane Benefits, Harvard Business Review and Inc.