Half of U.S. workers have left a job because of a bad boss, according to a Gallup study. Summarizing the findings in a LinkedIn piece, Brigette Hyacinth observed: “Employees join companies but leave managers.”
“A manager’s job is to motivate and provide guidance and support,” Hyacinth wrote. “A bad boss can take a good staff and destroy it, causing the best employees to flee and the remainder to lose all motivation.”
Of course, employee retention is not the only benefit of a motivated team. There have been several movements in corporations over the last 30 years designed to improve the quality of the product or service provided. There was Total Quality Management in the 1990s, followed by a shift to ISO and Seven Sigma processes. For any of these systems to work, you need to have a motivated workforce.
The obvious question then becomes: What are some management approaches that would be effective to motivate and retain employees?
Drawing on my experiences in roles across organizational levels, I have found these three strategies to be among the most critical:
- Foster open communication– It is important to listen to your employees and really understand what they are communicating. That said, establishing an environment of open communication requires trust and respect. People will communicate more openly and honestly when they believe their comments will be heard and considered without judgement.
- Establish clear objectives– It is possible to be busy all the time and never get anything done. Managers that can help employees focus on the priorities and measure their progress in completing the tasks required to achieve them will get things done. Ultimately, people are positively motivated when they complete the agreed upon objectives and their company attains its goals.
- Empower your employees– No one likes to be micromanaged. However, many companies have concentrated decision-making at the highest levels. People like to have decision-making authority for the jobs they are performing, and feel a sense of accomplishment when those decisions lead to successful outcomes. Job satisfaction is likely to be much higher when employees know they made the right calls to accomplish their objectives.