It’s Not You: It’s Me The Real Reason You’re Losing Employees

By Paul Bieber

I heard this phrase the other day and it reminded me of my early years in business: “people join companies and leave because of managers.” In the course of everyday business, an employee leaves your company and you search for a replacement. This leaving will usually cost somewhere between 25 and 50 percent of the annual cost of the employee. Shrug your shoulders and go on, saying, “Well, the person who left just didn’t fulfill the goals we had talked about during the interview process.”


When I became a manager in the glass industry and was charged with hiring, this fit me to a T. I couldn’t understand why these folks didn’t make it. It took me about a year to realize the problem wasn’t the employees, but with their manager: me.

That brings us to today. It’s tough times in hiring and some, if not most, companies are glad just to hire a warm body. The way to prevent this horrible cycle is to make sure your managers are the best in all ways.

Go back two years and chart who left your company, for any reason, and see who their two direct supervisors were when they left. This would be a fore-man and a manager, or a shift leader and a general manager. I am sure you’ll find a trend where one or two managers will have a large preponderance of employees who have left.

The line manager has the most inter-action with an employee. If these two folks don’t get along, for any reason, the employee, not the manager, goes on to the streets. A good person, though, will get a new job quickly.


How do you prevent this? Give your managers true training in how to do their job. Groom a manager months ahead of when they actually may jump to a leadership role. Look at your first line managers as the most important folks in reducing your turnover rate.

Send up-and-coming folks to training at a local college. Once you name someone a leader, have them attend ongoing training sessions as a manager. At least 5 percent of a manager’s time should be spent in self education, or at least two weeks per year. If you lead a large company you can do this in-house through your human resources group. If you’re a small company, use the community college group. Don’t do this as an online course. Developing a manager is about personal relationships. Face-to-face interaction is the key here.

When you promote a line worker to a manager because he is the best installer, this does not mean he is the best leader. But he can be taught if he has the right attitude.

Meet with your new manager daily to discuss issues that have come up and explore ways to correct the problems. This helps all of your managers think along the same path. Managerial training is one of the most important tools in reducing employee turnover and increasing profits. Whether you hire a one-on-one consulting trainer or send the new manager for training, you will always come out ahead.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.