One wonders what do managers do. The real question here is to find out if they add value to what the customer gets from their company. If yes, the customer will be willing to pay for their wages. In most organizations, no supervisor other than the first-level ones adds value that is seen by the customer in the product or service she buys from the company. So, it is natural that the first-level managers otherwise referred as Team Leaders are the most crucial for the customers and hence, the revenues for the company. The best efforts must be put in place to retain them!
Several studies have pointed out a trend across the globe that the younger people in the workforce are mobile, open to job changes and in the hunt for opportunities to express themselves, deliver impactful results and generate the maximum returns possible for their efforts. All of this points in the direction of greater risk and challenge to retain such young leaders. Thus, these people are among the most valuable players in the workforce and in the highest risk of being lost to other organizations. What can one do to retain them?
Firstly, it is important to create the right environment for a young leader to be successful in the company. The key to success of a young leader is to define her area of work, the measures of success and communicate the same to all stakeholders of the role. Many organizations fail in this first fundamental step. Their ability to deal with uncertainties and unclarities for a protracted period of time is limited. The next step is to equip the person with all the right resources to carry out the job well. Many a times, the support infrastructure is either limited or non-cooperative; the senior leaders do not recognize this shortfall and fail to take action on it. Sometimes, the senior folks in the organization assume that the young turk will learn on the job, love trials and errors; be happy that their boss has allowed them freedom to learn and perform. Retention increases when the workplace offers them adequate clarity about the job, deliverables, benchmarks and resources; clear structure and systems to learn, perform and communicate.
Secondly, the senior leaders need to be having regular touch-base with their direct reports, especially the young leaders so that the communication channel is open all the time and they can intervene in a systematic manner in case they sense any instability or disengagement. Early warning signals can always be picked up if there is a conscious effort to listen to the person.
Last but not the least, it is the content of discussion which matters. That decides the level of trust one builds in each other and the honesty with which one expresses one’s mind. Extreme levels of formality or informality doesn’t help. One should be comfortable in keeping the conversation and its content flexible in terms of the agenda, timing, venue, frequency and the tone while keeping the focus on the business and the deliverables. It is important to understand how the person relates to other people and adapt the discussion to suit the same. Once the trust is established, it is equally important to sustain the same. Nothing is permanent!