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If You Want to Win the War for Talent, You Must Train Your Managers to Lead

Organizations across the globe are losing sleep over the growing attrition rates and escalating the talent wars.

By Shalini Ramakrishnan, Director of Product Marketing

Organizations across the globe are losing sleep over the growing attrition rates and escalating the talent wars.

Employee turnover trends demonstrate an 8.3% increase over 2017 and an 88% increase since 2010. If this trend continues, then voluntary turnover will hit 35% by 2023.

This can pose an enormous risk for organizations.

Employee turnover costs US companies $160 billion a year. Replacing an employee is also an expensive proposition. It can set back a company as much as 2X the annual salary of the resource. Apart from that is the fact that high performers are costlier to replace.

With the job market swinging heavily in favor of the candidate, organizations have to pay close attention to their employee engagement and employee experience initiatives to retain talent.

The 2018 Retention Report: Truth and Trends in Turnover states, “More than three in four employees (77 percent) who quit could have been retained by employers.”

Organizations have to pay close attention to how managers lead teams and ensure that they are trained to lead.

Why is the spotlight on managers?

“People don’t leave organizations. They leave managers”. We have heard it enough times.

It is indisputable that managers have a great impact on employee work experience. The former co−founder and CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, in his book High Output Management, clearly states that managers have a significant amount of control over their teams’ performance and considers managers to be micro−CEO’s.

Given the impact managers have on employee morale and engagement levels, it makes sense to train the managers to have crucial skills that will help them lead their teams effectively.

Focus on developing power skills

‘Power skills’, earlier known as soft skills, are not technical but behavioral skills.

These skills enable workforce agility and have to be built given their complex nature. Skills like problem−solving, collaboration, empathy, decision making, self−management, communication, growth mindset, the capacity to innovate, and the like are essential today for running highly effective and productive teams. Having great power skills are essential for managers to lead their team to success.

However, organizations have to take a focused approach when helping managers to develop their power skills. Since behavioral skills demand a certain reprogramming of mindsets and attitudes, it lends itself well to mentoring.

Managers with power skills are better communicators and effective problem solvers and have higher levels of empathy. Hence, they can develop better team relationships. This positively impacts employee engagement levels.

Develop the skills to identify ‘brilliant jerks’

One of the key responsibilities of managers is to chart the career path of their teammates. They are the ones identifying who will fill the leadership pipeline and are instrumental in designing growth opportunities for their team members.

For this, they have the crucial responsibility of identifying high performing team members. However, when doing so, they have to have the skills to identify the ‘brilliant jerks’ in their teams. Nothing impacts team morale more poorly than to see a brilliant jerk’s rise to fame. While these people are the high performers, they can impact organizational culture negatively.

Traditional methods of evaluation place a great deal of importance on the individual contribution of employees towards their KRA’s. High performance almost always equates with high value. Managers have to develop the capability of identifying high−value employees and team mates not just on performance but also by evaluating the interactions of their team members amongst each other. Leveraging tests such as behavioral skills tests they can identify high−performing team members who demonstrate the qualities needed to join the leadership pipeline.

Learn to lead by example

The role of a manager is that of a guide. They should not lead their teams using dictation and instruction alone. Managers have to develop the capability to lead by example. By doing so, they put their words into action. This shows the team members how they are expected to act and helps to build a higher degree of accountability in the team.

When managers follow through their commitments, they create an environment that compels their team members to imitate their actions. The absence of such a management style can lead to ‘accountability’ and ‘responsibility’ to become mere catchphrases with their team members. Such attitudes can severely impact team morale and can lead to demoralized, disengaged, and unhappy employees. And it is these employees who ultimately walk out the door.

Dr. Stephen Covey says, ‘You can’t have trust without being trustworthy’. And more than words, it is the actions that build trust. Managers have to show that they are committed

towards their team members, that they have their best interests in mind, that they are resolute in solving the team‘s problems and helping them chart their growth story. In doing so, they build highly effective teams that are willing to put in discretionary efforts owing to high engagement levels. Quite obviously, these team members are also more likely to remain loyal to the organization.

Try NumlyEngage™ − an AI−enabled platform designed to deliver measurably greater employee engagement and business growth by bridging the growing soft skills gap in enterprises today.

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