8 Minute Read

Why You’re Losing Employees and How to Make Them Stay

We’re not all blessed with a natural gift of management skills which means some of us have to work harder than others to lead our employees. Let’s be real, we’ve all had amazing bosses and we’ve all had some who left a little to be desired.

Gallup found only 32% of the workforce is engaged. With numbers like that, it’s hard to believe anyone really knows what it takes to motivate employees and indicates why you may be losing employees left and right. Luckily, I have done a little of my own research and trial and error with my team and I’m happy to pass on findings. I can’t promise the same results, but I can promise I have some insight.


The Hard, Honest Truth

Only 30% of employees worldwide feel inspired and engaged by their current careers. That means chances are someone on your team feels disengaged, uninspired and is probably conducting preliminary job searches. Further, 48% of employees actually detest their jobs.

That same study found 18% of employees are so disengaged that even though they appear present at work, they are housing secret hate for their job. It’s hard not to notice the correlation with 3 out of every 4 people claiming their boss was the reason they voluntarily quit their job. Obviously, it’s impossible to please everyone, so the goal isn’t exactly to make employees happy. Your goal should be to engage them with their coworkers, clients, and work. Doing anyone of those things isn’t easy, but it’s better than trying to be everyone’s friend while work withers away. Let me explain:

Only 30% of employees worldwide feel inspired and engaged by their current careers. Click To Tweet


What Managers Are Doing Wrong

Some of the biggest complaints from employees about management skills are as follows

  • Being hypocritical.
  • Using scare tactics.
  • Treating employees like children.
  • Making rules for many because of the few.
  • Focusing on mistakes and errors, no matter how trivial they are in comparison with successes.
  • Applying policies unfairly and inequitably.
  • Stomping on employee initiative and ideas.
  • Telling employees they’re empowered but then review and retain veto power over small decisions.
  • Violating employee confidentiality by sharing information inappropriately.
  • Setting unattainable goals and penalizing employees for not meeting them.

All these complaints have in common: respect and appreciation, which is exactly why 72% of employees value respect over compensation and engagement increases by 60% when managers recognize employee performance. That’s right, most of the time you can’t pay people enough to love their job or your company. They may stay a little longer for a big paycheck, but definitely won’t be the committed, engaged employee you are hoping to lead.

72% of employees value respect over compensation. Does your leadership show employees respect? Click To Tweet


What the Most Successful Managers Are Doing Right

You’ve probably met a few managers that left you a little envious. You know, the ones who have a team of employees saying, tweeting, Facebooking variations of the phrase, “Oh my goodness, I love my boss!” Well, that can be you too.

A good manager sees everyone as a leader. They build programs and policies that encourage all individuals on the team to have a voice in their job. They inspire all employees by encouraging innovative ideas across the board, no matter their department. They not only give feedback, they ask for some in return. With more support and chances to speak their mind, employees know they aren’t just working for their company, but the company is working for them too. These seem like small behavioral changes, but they are what makes a great leader, not just a great manager.

A good manager doesn’t visibly get upset or anxious over a problem (even though you may feel it internally). They not only allow mistakes so no one is afraid to take risks, they focus on problem-solving and collaboratively teach their team how to right wrongs. One study mentions 70% of decisions we make will be wrong. While mistakes can be costly, it is important that if you want to continue their employment, you use the opportunity to instill trust as well as guidance. In the same respect, it’s just as important to admit your own flaws and, if possible, follow the same set of problem-solving steps when addressing them. You are far from perfect and that attention to process management reminds employees that even as a manager, you are still their colleague.

A good manager shows appreciation and understands the culture. Simply holding company or department get-togethers, recognizing or praising your employees in the ways their personality responds best will make huge impacts on happiness. Everyone loves to be encouraged and complimented and we’ve made this one of the foundations of our company culture. By now, you have probably heard of our simple workplace perk, Eatin’ Meetin’, in which every Friday we share a toast of wine, a plate of cheese and talk about what we are proud of most from the week. Each person is personally recognized by me, their boss, at the very end, leaving all employees with positive thoughts going into their weekend that (I hope) carries over to the next week. The process acts as fuel for the tough things that come with being a part of a scrappy, startup. And this isn’t just limited to me encouraging the team, I also encourage the team to brag on each other, too.

A good manager is understanding. This isn’t always so easy, but allowing flexibility for your employees is important too. Employees come with baggage, it’s just the plight of being human. They will have family emergencies, school, appointments and a personal life, just like you. You can’t always be in charge of company policies, but you can help them balance both the commitment to their personal and professional life. And remember, a great manager goes to bat for an employee, even in a complicated situation.


Being a manager isn’t telling people what to do and when to have it done by. It takes leadership and the commitment to always be improving and this list isn’t totally inclusive, but it is a great way to begin turning those better management wheels.