The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called First Break All The Rules.
It came up with this surprising finding: If you’re losing good people, look to their immediate supervisor. More than any other single reason, he is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he’s the reason why they quit, taking their knowledge, experience and contacts with them. Often, straight to the competition.
“People leave managers not companies,” write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. “So much money has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people – in the form of better pay, better perks and better training – when, in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue.” If you have a turnover problem, look first to your managers. Are they driving people away?
Beyond a point, an employee’s primary need has less to do with money, and more to do with how he’s treated and how valued he feels. Much of this depends directly on the immediate manager.
Different managers can stress out employees in different ways – by being too controlling, too suspicious, too pushy, too critical, too nit-picky.
But they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents.
When this goes on too long, an employee will quit -often over seemingly trivial issue. It isn’t the 100th blow that knocks a good man down. It’s the 99 that went before. And while it’s true that people leave jobs for all kinds of reasons – for better opportunities or for circumstantial reasons,
many who leave would have stayed – had it not been for one man constantly telling them, as Arun’s boss did: “You are dispensable. I can find dozens like you.