Retention Strategies for Managers
by Guest Contributor David Dworski, PhD
People don't quit jobs. They quit bad bosses.
Here are the four key reasons why employees leave, along with proven strategies managers can use to remedy the situation.
Reason #1: "I'm not learning, and I'm not growing."
Today's employees (especially members of Generations X and Y) are seeking work that offers more meaning, more variety, more creativity, and greater opportunities to contribute and take initiative.
Your job as their manager is to offer training that helps employees move from having narrowly specialized roles to becoming generalists with a broad overview of the whole hospital. Grant people freedom to change roles and apply many skills in their work. Managers who fail to do this generally find their staff migrating to a more welcoming environment faster than wild geese head south at the first sign of winter.
Reason #2: "It doesn't feel good to work here."
Key idea: Create a climate of candor in your department; a psychological safety zone where people can speak up and make decisions. If employees are in a work structure where they can only recommend---while other people decide---the best of them will pack up and go elsewhere. Allow your group to call the shots. As a team, empower your employees to find answers to your specific departmental questions: Who are we? What do we stand for? What's our purpose? You'll retain good workers if interpersonal communication is open and honest, and if the mission and goals of your unit are crystal clear.
Reason #3: "They wouldn't miss me if I were gone."
Employees will be motivated to stay with you if they feel appreciated. Make sure your staff knows how valuable they are to your hospital's continued success. Show your appreciation by staying in close touch with all staff-members. Is anyone struggling? Who needs help? Who needs energizing? Who needs recognition and an honest pat on the back? Who haven't you had coffee or lunch with (or otherwise paid attention to) in a while? Don't be a praise-miser! Create a web of significance around each of your employees and the work they do.
Reason #4: "I don't get the support I need to do my job."
Your best people will start looking for the exit doors when they feel unfairly handcuffed by obsolete rules and endless yards of bureaucratic red tape. Your task: be an inspirational leader, someone who puts sacred cows out to pasture. The benefit: You'll increase productivity and employee morale with every barrier you tear down. Training, coaching, and making astute match-ups between job assignments and an employee's personal style complete this circle of support.
To sum up:
Retention is a critical part of a manager's job. The ability to create strong bonds with your valuable people marks the difference between being a successful manager with a stable, happy workforce, or one whose disgruntled staff changes as regularly as the tide.