Do your managers know how to manage people?

What’s the value of a good manager? To paraphrase a well-known ad campaign, a good manager is priceless. After all, it’s hard to quantify all the cascading effects of a manager — whether good or bad — on the rest of an organization.

For example, an employee who feels a strong connection to the boss is less likely to quit when a better paying opportunity comes along. On the other hand, an employee with poor management may take any offer that comes their way, even if that means earning less money or working longer hours.

The way your organization manages its people makes all the difference when it comes to employee retention. That makes it critical that you manage your managers and provide them with ongoing training and support. As you assess whether your managers know how to manage people, make sure you’re building on the right foundations.

Employee retention: a management barometer

High employee turnover is a clear sign that something’s not right with the management of an organization. How does your company rate when it comes to employee retention?

One of the most effective ways to address these issues is by conducting an employee survey, but many companies shy away from employee engagement surveys. They fear opening up a can of worms if they ask employees to rate their managers.

Yet how can you fix something when you don’t know what needs repairing? By conducting an employee survey, you may discover whether managers know how to manage people. Surveys can be effective even in a small company. They’re best delivered by a third-party vendor with experience in conducting engagement surveys.

Another approach is to hire an outside consultant to conduct focus groups. This method enables the facilitator to dig below the surface to either confirm that your managers are doing a great job, or uncover evidence that indicates more employee training and support may be needed.

Principles of employee retention

Like the legs on a chair, employee retention rests on some basic principles: opportunities to learn and advance; work/life balance; a good cultural fit; and an appreciation for good work. Put another way, good management and staff relations exist when you have the following four fundamentals in place:

1. Employees know what’s expected of them

Employees who are most engaged don’t have to worry about what their managers are thinking. That’s because their managers provide continuous feedback to them. This allows the employee to quickly make course corrections and to feel successful.

Employers should be mindful of those they promote into leadership positions. Strong communication skills are a must when leading a team of people. Consider providing managers with a coach to help them up their game in this critical area of leadership.

2. Employees feel cared for

Can you imagine what it must feel like to work for a manager who doesn’t even know you exist? Now think about what it must be like to work for someone who genuinely is concerned about his or her staff. A good manager is empathetic to people and demonstrates this routinely.

Empathy isn’t something that’s easily taught. Before promoting people into management roles, ascertain whether empathy is a trait that is part of their character. If it isn’t, then be prepared to pair them with a leader who can mentor them on how to manage people.

3. Employees receive regular recognition and praise for a job well done

Employees don’t need nor do they expect a pat on the back every time they complete a task. However, they do need and appreciate acknowledgement for a job well done. Employee recognition goes a long way towards retaining valuable talent.

Train your managers on how to praise and recognize employees for doing good work. Provide them with a budget to present financial rewards when an employee deserves it.

4. Employees have an opportunity to do what they do best everyday

Trying to put a square peg into a round hole is frustrating for both employer and manager, but this happens every day. For example, what happens when an employee is asked to take on responsibilities for a task that requires strong critical thinking skills when their strengths are better suited for customer relations?

Teach your managers the importance of building on strengths and tapping into other resources when skills are needed that may not be readily available with the current staff. Encourage your managers to listen when an employee expresses concern regarding his or her ability to do their best with a task every day.

Understanding that good managers usually aren’t born that way will help grow employee performance. Know what to look for before you promote people into management and provide them with ongoing training so that they can lead your workforce in a manner that inspires others to follow.

Need managers who know how to manage people? Monster can help you find them

Good managers aren’t born, and they’re sometimes hard to find, especially if you don’t have the right tools. With expert recruiting tips and the latest up-to-date analysis of job market trends, Monster Hiring Solutions can help you find the right people for any position in your organization.