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Are managers driving your staff away?

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“People leave managers not companies”

Mike Smith, Managing Director at Ripley Training, claimed that “poor management is the number one cause behind staff leaving”. His view was that whilst companies invest large amounts of time and money in developing job skills, their leadership and management skills are often over looked, leading to higher levels of turnover and reduced levels of team performance.

This fits with a long held belief that we have here at International Wellbeing Insights. Line Managers are often promoted based on their technical abilities, but quite frequently once they are promoted they are not given training around all the other soft skills required by a line manager. As Line Managers are the first line of support they play a key role in ensuring people feel supported, that the culture of wellbeing is embedded in their team and that organisational objectives are met. A Gallup Survey in 2017 reported that of more than 1 million workers, 75% who left their jobs voluntarily, did so because of their bosses and not because of the position itself. Whilst this in itself is worryingly high, what is perhaps more concerning is that studies show having a bad boss raises a worker’s chance of having a heart attack by as much as 60%.

A well-known and well-used aphorism is that people leave managers not companies – is there something HR can do to counteract this problem?

There a number of things that can be done, but certainly training is of utmost importance to ensure that line managers have the skills and understanding to deal with any issues with the sensitivity needed.

For most managers the problem is not a lack of desire to help, it is a lack of confidence in their skills to handle the situation properly that can result in them shying away from the conversation. In our view, developing line manager’s soft skills and their understanding of stress and mental health conditions are the missing pieces in the jigsaw, without which the other measures will never be fully effective. So for businesses serious about dealing with wellbeing at work this is where the focus of attention needs to be.

As part of our Managing Wellbeing In Your team workshops we teach our 7 E’s framework to help line managers build a culture of wellbeing. Two E’s specifically come to mind – Engage and Exemplify. ‘Engaging’ line managers in training so that they are prepared and confident to lead these discussions and (proactively) gain intellectual, emotional and social buy-in from their teams, whilst leading from the front by exemplifying good practice.

For more information on our in-house Managing Wellbeing In Your Team Workshops contact us today.

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