Often companies say that departing employees leave for more money.
But here are some statements of the reality:
- Only 12% of employees actually leave their jobs in pursuit of higher pay. (Saratoga Institute)
- 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses and not the position itself.
- In spite of how good a job may be, people will quit if the reporting relationship is not healthy.
- #1 reason employees leave is the way they were supervised – a bad boss or immediate supervisor.
Bosses, managers, supervisors are many things to employees:
- Too demanding
- Too intense
- Great motivator
- Can be counted on
- Gets things done
- Liked by team
- Terrific leaders
- Strategic thinker
- Terrible communicator
In all of this good and bad, however, you don’t see a comment that management of employees is easy. It’s a huge management challenge to do what is necessary to keep individuals interested in their work, feeling good about their companies, and working productively. This responsibility is not solely on the shoulders of managers. In fact, managers also have bosses on the leadership team. And leadership is where the real decisions have to be made that will keep individuals – managers included – interested in their work, feeling good about their companies and working productively.
The above list of descriptors, then, should apply to all of leadership.
Low Productivity Epidemic?
Studies of the employee-leadership relationship indicate that most employees aren’t emotionally committed to the companies they work for and so they are not motivated and fully productive for those companies.
Multiple studies that agree that around 60% or 70% of employees are simply not working as hard as they could be.
- Gallup (data shows 30% of employees engaged)
- Towers Watson (data shows 35% highly engaged)
- Dale Carnegie (data shows 29% fully engaged)
These are significant studies and combine to include about 375,000 respondents. The Gallup poll shows the costs in lost U.S. productivity is more than $450 billion.
And even if you believe this to be an imprecise figure, the possibility that this number could be this huge is a bit staggering. Could this signal a productivity epidemic?
There are several factors that contribute to disengagement. But the crux of it lies within the relationship between leadership and employee. Other factors such as company pride, uncertainty resulting from reorganizations and layoffs, and pressure to do more with less.
Opportunity Not Challenge
Maybe this ‘challenge’ should be looked at as an ‘opportunity’ for improvement.
Look at the numbers. If you manage 10 employees and six of them are disengaged, and you can motivate just two of them to better engage, then you’ll recognize very immediate, very significant productivity gains.
Even though the numbers are a great example, they aren’t the real challenge. The real challenge is actually motivating those 2 employees.
And to do that you have to do something that numbers can’t – understand why they feel the way they feel and then improve their mindsets.
“Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.” Andy Stanley
Leadership’s Real Role
When employees are hired, there is some degrees of confidence that they are capable of doing the tasks for which they were brought on board. So leadership’s job is not to manage that job, but to provide guidance, support and resources for that person they’ve hired to do their job.
Jackrabbit’s own CEO and cofounder, Mark Mahoney believes in this whole-heartedly. “We seek out people with the skills we need and make sure that these candidates are good fits for our core values and culture. After hiring, we train them, arm them with the tools they need to do their jobs and get out of the way. It’s a very hands-off management style but it works. If you empower people who want to do a good job, they will thrive and excel for your company. Of course, there is goal-setting and quarterly conversations about progress and roadblocks that shed light on whether the employees and leadership are holding up their respective ends of the bargain.”
This has been a differentiator for Jackrabbit – a high-growth tech company that has made the Inc. 5000 for eight consecutive years and earned a place in the Inc. 5000 Hall of Fame. Rapidly increasing revenues have never been their ‘brass ring’ for Jackrabbit, but it has happened because the other great things are happening. The revenues are the product of the company’s productive operations and empowering culture.
A recent study says that 56% of employees would turn down a 10% raise to stay with great leadership. Treat employees fairly, reward them for their hard work and they will give 110%.
There are too many individuals in leadership positions who abuse their power. This is why good employees quit jobs. A culture of blaming, punishment, inflexibility and insensitivity only pushes people away.
“Respect is how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.” Richard Branson
Employees want leadership:
- That actually leads.
- That will inspire them.
- That is fair and honest.
- That will stand up for them.
Bad leadership makes exceptional employees become disheartened, stop caring, and just go through the motions until they find another job.
Here are some stats for you that illustrate the combined effect of leadership on employees’ intent to stay at the company.
You can see how powerful quality of leadership is.
- Uses human-to-human in building their relationship with their employees.
- Understands that they are dealing with real people and not a statistic on a graph.
- Collaborates with their employees on a horizontal level – never on a vertical level.
- Gets to know their employees.
- Meets them where they are with flexibility, compassion, and empathy.
- Earns their employees’ loyalty by treating them like people.
Great leadership is who guards your core values, culture, branding (along with marketing), goals and reputation, provides guidance and support and collaborates across the company – horizontally and vertically – to ensure the entire company stays the course.