Bad management: the underdog of employee turnover

Bad management: the underdog of employee turnover

Great agencies are the result of great people. However, hiring smart, savvy employees or knowledge-hungry millennials can often lead to challenges with development and, consequently, retention.

Turnover has impacts on any company: slowed productivity, shifts in culture, loss of experience and, of course, costs to the business. So, agencies seek solutions. Hire smarter, not faster. Onboard employees correctly. Develop a quirky agency culture. Some of these strategies work, but others just simply aren’t enough.

Many things can lead to employees upping sticks and leaving their agency. But one that’s often missed is lack of leadership and mentorship.

Slack management

We’ve all heard the saying ‘employees don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses’. Building management skills and manager-employee relationships is important for creating smart, focused teams and reducing turnover. But, it is frequently overlooked.

Managers wear many hats, but often developing and retaining staff doesn’t fall into their haberdashery. Few are evaluated on their ability to minimise turnover. But, being a manager means you’re in the business of human relationships. From communication to body language to team processes – managers have to work hard to keep their staff happy. And if they don’t, they risk their teams walking out the door.

Talent for the taking

Talented staff are worth their weight in gold – and recruiters are always close by waiting to snap them up. So, in a talent-short market that’s defined by competition, it’s absolutely critical that agencies get management right. Not only will their staff be lured away by attractive offers – you’ll also end up with a less than desirable reputation among your peers and recruiters (who’ll avoid working with you because it’s too risky).

Lack of career learning

Deep down humans want to grow. Instinctively we ache to work in an environment that champions our strengths; where we can contribute and make a lasting impact on the world (or at least the company). Employees need to know where they’re going, and what the plan is to get them there.

Job hopping often results from employees (particularly starry-eyes millennials) wanting to maximise their career learning. They’re no longer satisfied by decent pay or the promise of a stable job; they want to be challenged, educated and accelerated. If managers aren’t communicating personal development plans, the ‘5-year picture’ or how they plan on training their staff, then uninspired employees might start writing resignation letters.

Getting management right

The most important thing is to acknowledge the reasons your agency has high employee turnover. If they’re management related, fixing the problem won’t happen overnight – but there are steps agencies can take to create smarter managers and more loyal employees.

Implement a mentoring program

Mentoring programs can help to address workplace learning and employee’s needs for personal growth and development. Good mentorship programs involve goal setting, resource sharing and steps towards growth. They often satiate an employee’s need for ongoing learning and development much more than a course or temporary program.

Plus, it provides employees with another boss: the mentor. Almost acting as a life coach, or a trusty friend, employees can lean on their mentors. Mentors can support, encourage and help an employee through tough moments where regular managers often fall short.

Up-skill managers

Put plans in place to make sure that the managers within your agency are being tasked with reducing turnover, and train them in how to successfully manage their team. There are plenty of management training courses out there – sign up some of your management team and see if turnover decreases.

Challenge employees

Listen to your employees and their needs. Knit learning and development programs into their personal goals and annual reviews. Put aside a training budget that can be used towards the sending the right employees to relevant and insightful training courses.

What to discuss other ways to reduce employee turnover – or find staff that will stick? Contact Justine at