Will they stay or will they go now? 3 tips to retain your managers

Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 11:36

It's not often The Clash and human resources have much in common, but those words from the early 80s still reflect a lot of the uncertainty HR departments face when attempting to retain valuable managers within their organisation.

There are good reasons to make manager retention a priority. According to research from Roy Morgan, only 49 per cent of Australian workers had no plans to leave their current role in 2015. Even those who are satisfied with their current roles are considering whether they should move, with 1.58 million Australians falling into this category.

To help, we've assembled three of the most important strategies that can contribute to keeping managers in the business for longer.

1) Identify the managers you can't afford to lose

Perhaps the largest problem with existing retention strategies is they focus on all managers within an organisation.

This was underscored by recent research from McKinsey & Company into how companies can improve their retention. The study suggested reconsidering which managers are the most valuable for an organisation and then focusing resources on these individuals.

According to McKinsey, it's important to measure the difficulty of replacing a worker in a certain position against the chance of them leaving, based on market demand for their skills. Individuals who are in-demand elsewhere and hard to replace are the most attractive for businesses to retain.

Can you identify the managers you can't afford to lose?

2) Retention starts with recognition

It's taken as gospel in the business world that if you treat employees and managers well, they are more likely to put in additional work for your business. However, many companies aren't making the effort to recognise success within their firm.

According to research by employee service provider TINYpulse, the amount of recognition that employees receive is directly tied to how fulfilled they feel while at work. Praise from managers also recorded a positive correlation with other outcomes like the perception of the work environment and peer-to-peer evaluations.

While the research focused mostly on the relationship between middle managers and their employees, the same benefits can apply when it comes to mid-level and senior managers. When people at every level are recognised for performing their roles well, they are more likely to stay with the company.

3) Think beyond pay

Salary is often identified as the main reason for individuals to leave a company. According to Bamboo HR, insufficient pay and lack of advancement were two of the three most common reasons for people to leave a role.

However, much of the conversation around retaining managers focuses too much on their compensation. Instead, the McKinsey research suggested the core goal for organisations should be developing other incentives like greater responsibilities, leadership training courses and input into major projects, which can all keep managers engaged in their work.

Retaining managers is no easy task - it requires a careful and concerted approach that not only identifies and recognises high performing managers, but also develops a full range of incentives to retain them. The good news is that many of these strategies are simple responses that can keep managers engaged with their work, without incurring a large cost for the business.

Arm yourself with the vital salary information you need in the war for attracting and retaining quality talent.

With data collected from over 25,000 employees across more than 280 organisations, the National Salary Survey provides managers with insights like no other. Whether you’re an HR manager or a CEO, it’s vital to stay across current market trends to ensure you make informed decisions. Pre-order the April release of the National Salary Survey before February 29 to receive 15% off.