How poor management is driving your staff away

01 February 2016 -


New research reveals 50% of workers will be looking for a new job in 2016

Jermaine Haughton

We are just one month into 2016 and already one fifth of all workers are searching for a new job, according to a new report by Investors In People. The reason? The stress, frustration and annoyance of dealing with poor managers.

The survey of 2,000 adults found that half of workers will be looking for a new job in 2016 because of unhappiness over pay, promotion prospects and heavy workloads.

However, when asked whether a pay rise would be enough to compensate for bad managers, respondents rejected the offer. In fact, a third of those questioned said they would prefer more flexible working hours than a pay increase, while one in four wanted their employer to invest more time into training and staff development.

This growing trend of dissatisfaction, combined with new recruitment opportunities, highlights the need for effective talent management and companies to fully nurture and engage their employees.

Paul Devoy, head of Investors in People, said that British workers are equally concerned about producing meaningful work for a meritocratic and well-run organisation as they are pay.

"Improved salaries over recent months means that pay is less of a gripe for UK workers,” he said. “But longstanding issues around poor management and how valued people feel in their work continue to make UK workers miserable.

"We know that bad leadership alone costs the £39billion a year. If employers addressed these factors, they would have a more committed workforce and far fewer resources tied up in constant recruitment drives. As the economy improves, many employers run the risk of losing their valuable, skilled staff."

The study provides some substance to the old adage, “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.”

From the way they start meetings to their general tardiness to the manner in which they punish disruptive employees, the actions of managers can make or break the workplace experience for staff, particularly in small, close-knit organisations.’s list of the nine management issues that can trigger good staff to leave include; overworking employees, failing to recognise and reward their good work, not caring about employee wellbeing, failing to honour commitments, hiring and promoting the wrong people and blocking workers from pursuing the projects they’re most passionate about.

Other career development-type criticisms of bad managers were their failure to develop people’s skills, engage their creativity and challenge people intellectually.

Ultimately, the price of good employees leaving companies is expensive to bosses, both in time and money. And the higher the turnover, the more expensive it typically gets, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses with limited resources.

The average rate of employee turnover in the UK stands at around 15%, though this figure does vary from industry to industry. The cost to British businesses of bringing in new staff is at least £4.13bn, according a report by Oxford Economics and income protection firm Unum.

Small companies with few employees may find it especially difficult to replace workers, as workers may fill a variety of different specialised roles. The Oxford Economics study found that new staff don’t reach peak productivity for 28 weeks, on average, costing their employer £30,614, including £25,182 in wages and £5,433 for agency and advertising fees.

How to stop chasing away your best workers

One of the definitive differences between good and bad managers is their understanding that the manager-subordinate relationship is a two-way process, whereby leaders need to be able to identify the physical, emotional and mental needs of their workers to keep them motivated, committed and satisfied.

Particularly, in the case of high performers within the team, good managers are able to identify superstar workers and initiate clear and transparent dialogue with them about their goals and objectives.

By being proactive in showing talented workers a clear path of development, managers show employees that they are both happy with their work and that they’re appreciated.

Additionally, it provides an opportunity for employees to be aware of and buy into wider corporate objectives through transparent dialogue; especially vital as talented employees become increasingly aware of their market value and sought out by recruiters.

In turn, combining the objectives of the employer with those of the employee are likely to develop greater rates of staff engagement, which has been shown by a growing body of evidence to be an important factor in retaining workers.

In one study, 66% of highly engaged employees reported that they had no plans to leave their company, while only 3% of them were actively looking, compared to 12% and 31%, respectively for disengaged employees.

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