The Number One Reason that Employees Leave

A recent Gallup poll of more than a million U.S. employees found that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a bad boss or immediate supervisor. Even with this well-publicized statistic, most managers fail to accept their role in high turnover. A year earlier, Gallup found that only 18% of managers demonstrate a high level of talent for managing others. Put another way, 82% of managers aren’t very good at leading people. Further, Gallup estimated that managers who are poor communicators, delegators, negotiators, and lacking in other interpersonal skills cost U.S. corporations up to $550 billion annually.

Poor, or a lack of good, training is the culprit

A recent study by found that an astonishing 58% of managers said they receive no management training. Even those with a natural affluence to lead could benefit from proper training on how to manage others in a corporate setting and, in turn, become better at leading their team.

This troubling statistic is causing good employees to leave. It also is negatively affecting a company’s recruitment, employee engagement, reputation, productivity, and revenues. And it also causes the added expense of recruiting new employees who, getting a taste of their new managers, may soon be leaving themselves.

Why good training matters

Good training for managers must go beyond the technical skills that come with the role. It must include the full range of soft skills. (Soft skills include interpersonal skills as well as managing oneself. For example, managing employees through conflict and managing yourself through conflict are both soft skills.)

How important are well-developed soft skills to a manager and organization’s success? Take one interpersonal skill, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), as an example. An empathy index published in the Harvard Business Review found that the 10 most empathetic companies increased in value more than twice as much as those at the bottom of the index. Plus, they generated 50% more earnings defined by market capitalization, from one year to the next.

Further, according to another survey, 90% of employees are more likely to stay with an organization that empathizes with their needs and eight in 10 workers are willing to work longer hours for an empathetic employer. Even in such primarily “hard” skills industries as tech, engineering, healthcare, and financial services, employees focus less on salary if it means working for an empathetic employer.

In closing…

Companies owe it to themselves, their managers and employees, business partners, and customers, to invest in learner-centric and effective soft skill training for its people leaders. Worried about ROI? Ask yourself, “Does it cost more to improve my managers and attract and keep top talent or suffer the loss of revenue, reputation, revenue, and employee engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty?

Larry Bograd is Senior Director, Product Development at Syntrio, Inc. He is a twenty-year veteran of the training industry, serving as a learning consultant, director of content strategy, senior instructional designer, and scriptwriter. At Syntrio, he directs its Business Skills Library. He may be reached at

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