Leaders Must Encourage Employees to Grow or They’ll Go

August 18, 2016

When Gallup asked employees who were considering a career change or had recently switched employers to rate particular factors that influenced their decisions, the results were a bit surprising.  Most employers assume that the primary motivator for a career change is increased income, however as the results show, other factors are more important.  According to the study:

For workers who had switched jobs in the past three months, increased income ranked as the third influencer.


The number one reason for seeking a new job was because workers want to do what they do best.

Employees who have worked at a company for less than three years, compared to those employed with a company for ten or more years, strongly agreed that they were given opportunities to learn and grow.  They also shared that someone had discussed their progress with them and encouraged their development, compared to workers employed for ten or more years.

The impacts of low retention are systemic and costly. In fact, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that employers spend the equivalent of six to nine months of an employee’s salary to procure their replacement.  This means that an employee with an annual salary of $60,000 will cost the organization between $30,000 and $45,000 to hire and train a qualified replacement.  Other research conducted by the Center for America Progress revealed that losing an employee can cost anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to a whopping 213% of the salary for a highly trained position.

Stellar leadership is the key to retaining employees.  When employees feel comfortable discussing their progress and are encouraged to grow by their managers, they will thrive versus simply survive until the next job opportunity comes along.  Unfortunately, many managers are so busy micromanaging employees, they often forget to praise them for a job well done.

Dale Carnegie’s 27th leadership principle is, ‘Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.  He also said, Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”  Praising employees demonstrates appreciation and respect, and helps foster feelings of ambition and competence.  According to another Gallupstudy, employees who have supervisors that care about them, e.g. discuss their career progress, encourage development, and provide opportunities to learn and grow—have, “lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, and better customer loyalty than work groups in which employees report that these developmental elements are scarce.”

’Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person,’ is Dale Carnegie’s 24th leadership principle. Reinforcing trust and respect before offering negative feedback will soften the blow while still instilling the correction(s) that must be made.  Providing constructive criticism is never easy no matter how long a leader has managed employees—unless the leader has acquired strong leadership skills. 

If you recognize the need for improved leadership skills personally or within your organization, check out the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers course.


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