When employees leave an organization on their own, it is usually not about the money. They may tell you it is because it is easier than telling you the truth.

The #1 reason employees leave their job is a having a poor relationship with their immediate supervisor. Their boss has more influence on their quality of their work experience than their peers or the culture of the organization.

Poor supervision has an enormous impact and cost for both the individual employee and the organization. Consider these statistics:

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

  • 89% of managers believe employees leave for more money, while 88% of employees actually leave for reasons having to do with the job, the culture, the manager or the work environment. (“The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave: How to Recognize the Subtle Signs and Act Before It’s Too Late”)
  • 71% of workers in the United States rate themselves as either “Not Engaged” or “Actively Disengaged.” (The Gallup Organization)
  • 70% of the reasons employees leave their jobs are related to controllable factors by the direct supervisor. (“The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave”)
  • The #1 reason employees leave jobs is a poor relationship with their immediate supervisor. (The Gallup Organization)

As the research demonstrates, not only is it in the best interest of the employee, it is wise for the business to pay close attention to the supervisory relationship. Well-trained managers and supervisors provide the necessary and appropriate guidance, structure, and encouragement to their staff. Absent these important traits, the employee becomes disengaged and ultimately performs poorly or leaves the organization.

How do we get into this situation? Sometimes it is because employees are promoted to a supervisor level solely on their strong technical expertise. We naively think, if they have the technical skills, they should be able to lead people because they are more knowledgeable then their peers. Sounds reasonable?

Not necessarily. Managing people requires a different skill set than having technical expertise. When people skills weigh lightly in the promotion or hiring process, the company often face challenges with trust and respect within the department. The newly minted manager or supervisor is ill equipped to handle the tough employee issues and becomes overwhelmed.

If the employer is savvy, they will either provide some training or coaching to develop the manager’s people skills or recognize it is not a good fit and let the manager return to doing what they do best – technical work. Companies who choose to ignore this situation will see employee issues increase dramatically as time passes.

There will be some situations where an effective boss-employee relationship requires the supervisor to be a content expert. The leap of faith comes when organizations realize that a people centric manager who provides communication, employee development, leadership, and team skills can be exceptional without having the technical expertise, especially if the members of his or her team possess those skills.

What have been your experiences with managers who have either technical or people skills or both?