Everyone likes to think they’re a good manager, but surveys routinely identify supervisors and managers as key reasons people leave a company. Given the workload — everything from managing performance expectations and recognizing high achievers, to ensuring employees get balanced and achievable assignments — it’s no surprise it can be hard to do it all well. But if we’re serious about retaining our best employees, we need to provide managers and supervisors with the tools and training they need. They are your company’s first line of defense against turnover.

Management Performance

Often, the people who were hired or promoted into supervisory roles were very good at their previous job and know what it takes for their team to succeed — but managing a team is a different skill set. Consider implementing a performance review process that provides managers with critical feedback and prepares them for ongoing performance discussions with employees. 

Employee Recognition

Recognition doesn’t have to be a salary increase or a promotion. Whether you have a defined program and staff to support it, or you set aside money in the annual budget for managers to use at their discretion, give your managers the ability to celebrate their teams’ hard work, extra effort and work anniversaries.

Work-Life Balance

According to Ken Moses, chief people officer for Cascade Environmental, providing work-life balance for employees is a solid retention strategy.

“With stronger work-life balance, our employees experience better overall health: physically, mentally and emotionally. This leads to them being more engaged and focused on the job.”

The research agrees. Studies have shown that employees who experience a strong sense of work-life balance remain with companies longer and have higher levels of overall job satisfaction. Talk to your managers regularly about how you can provide employees with this balance when they perform such demanding jobs.

Career Growth Opportunities

Employees want growth opportunities. These can be as simple as opportunities to learn new skills or a chance to mentor new employees, or perhaps more long-term like a planned career promotion track. Growth opportunities can be limited, however, which is why it is important to communicate what it takes to earn them. Set criteria with your managers for promotion, and pay raise or bonus thresholds, and support them as they communicate this information to their teams.

We can’t eliminate turnover, but we can be aware of the most common reasons and transform them into reasons to stay.