Who’s Leaving the Company? One Possible Warning Sign

Wondering if someone might be thinking of leaving your organization? In a new article for Training magazine I shared the results from a recent survey showing the correlation between how often a person meets with their immediate manager and that person’s intention to remain with the organization.

Correlations of Conversation Frequency and Intent to Remain

Researchers at The Ken Blanchard Companies found that the more often the respondents reported meeting with their managers, the more often they indicated that they intended to remain with the organization—even if offered a similar or slightly better job somewhere else.  (See Fig. 1)

This data point reinforces some of the experiences Blanchard consultants have had in their work with clients and the article shares some related examples.

Getting Started

For HR and OD leaders wondering about the level of communication in their own organization, here are a few questions and strategies to consider.

  1. How often are your managers currently meeting with their direct reports? Ken Blanchard recommends that managers meet with each person at least every other week for fifteen to twenty minutes. The meeting doesn’t have to be long, but it is important that these one-on-ones occur on a consistent basis.  Make sure that managers treat these meetings as seriously as they would treat meetings with their own supervising leader.  Scheduling the meeting is the manager’s responsibility—but the direct report sets the agenda. Therefore, the meeting must never be postponed or canceled just because the manager believes there is nothing pressing to discuss.
  2. Make sure managers focus on the direct report’s agenda.  Managers sometimes use one-on-one meetings to provide updates, discuss strategic objectives, or bring up other issues of interest to the manager.  While that type of information sharing is important, the primary focus of these meetings should be the direct report’s agenda.  What does the employee want to discuss?  Where do they need help?
  3. Take a deeper look. In cases where managers and direct reports are not meeting as often as prescribed, probe for underlying root causes. Is the lower frequency a result of mutual agreement, or is it a symptom of a relationship that is in trouble?  Find out if the root cause of the issue is the manager’s lack of competence, commitment, a little of both, or something else.  Set up a time to discuss the situation with a manager who is not taking the time to meet with his or her direct reports.
  4. Measure progress and praise improvement. The old adage “What gets measured gets managed” still applies.  Implementing a new managerial practice requires patience.  Old habits can be difficult to change—especially when the effect of a new approach is not quick to determine.  Consider ways that you can chart progress for managers who could use encouragement in adopting this new habit.

The Importance of Good Communication

The frequency and quality of conversations happening in an organization represent an important marker of the overall health of the company.  Don’t let a lack of communication between managers and employees negatively impact performance in your organization. Start encouraging frequent, high quality conversations today.

To read the complete article, check out Meet & Keep in the July/August issue of Training magazine.  For more information on the research, connect with me via LinkedIn or drop me a line at david.witt@kenblanchard.com.

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