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When it comes to retaining employees, one of the most effective tactics an organization can leverage is offering people access to compelling learning and development initiatives.

Employees recognize that training programs take time and money; therefore, if they’re given regular access to experiences that will enrich their skillset, people feel valued because this demonstrates that their leaders are investing in them. Despite the fact that most organizations have full teams dedicated to learning and development, there seems to be one group that isn’t getting enough attention, and it’s a group that often has the most impact on the business: managers.

Managers should be thought of as the lynchpin of your organization – the people who are communicating essential messages, strategies, and mindsets from the senior leaders to the masses.

The people who motivate, teach, and model behaviors to folks working to make the business run each day. But managers are not being properly trained themselves, and as a result, they aren’t able to guide and lead others to the best of their ability. The article “Effective Employee Development Starts with Managers,” from the March 2022 edition of Harvard Business Review, reports:

A recent Gallup survey found that “at least 70% of the variance in team engagement is explained by the quality of the manager or team leader.” It would seem that this solution is often overlooked — most managers express a dim view of the effectiveness of their Learning and Development (L&D) function.


The article goes on to say:

Managers are in a unique position to drive employee retention and engagement — companies should give them the structure and tools to do so.

We couldn’t agree more. Managers have a massive influence over their teams. And if they aren’t receiving the necessary guidance and knowledge to do their jobs well, then this will have a massive ripple effect on the organization.

Putting Managers First

The solution is clear – make managers a priority. Train and educate them first. If they have the support and knowledge to transition from being an independent contributor to being a leader of others, they will be able to do their jobs better. This will in turn make their teams happier and more engaged, and increase overall dedication to the organization. And that’s the goal – to end the revolving door of employees and foster a culture where people not only keep coming to work, but like it too.

Give your managers a compass to navigate the many responsibilities of their role. To prepare managers for overseeing the work, growth, and engagement of others, there are four things managers must be trained on. These fundamental manager skills are:

  1. Know Your Role
  2. Know Your Business
  3. Connect Your Teams to the Business
  4. Deliver Results Through Your Teams

These four concepts are everything when it comes to setting managers up for success, because an uninformed, confused or hesitant manager isn’t a strong leader. But someone who has a solid understanding of what it means to be a manager, who realizes the goals of the business and can connect their people to these goals, and who realizes that the successes and positive results of the team will have a greater impact than the success of any single individual, will become a great leader. And this is what will make your employees stick around. It’s the ultimate business goal and the only way to end the resignation/job-hopping trend.

Educating Your People Is a Powerful Retention Tool

The HBR article offers one way to tackle the Great Resignation: One clear approach is to offer more training and development – according to a 2019 LinkedIn study, 94% of employees said they would stay with their employer if it invested in their development.

Managers have an extreme influence on whether an employee feels commitment to their job or whether they’re spending time freshening up their resume. After all, we’ve all heard the popular adage that people don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses. Setting managers up for success can’t be a “nice-to-have,” it’s a must.

Want to learn exactly how you can help your managers know their role, know their business, connect their teams to the business, and deliver results through their teams? Click here to access a paper – aptly titled Falling Short of Your Strategic Goals? The Reason Might Surprise You (Hint: Your Managers Need Help) – that dives into these four mindsets and provides many more insights on the ways to develop managers so they are poised to lead their teams, and your business, to their full potential.

September 21, 2022

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Managing Change


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