Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
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Research Says This is the Secret to Employee Retention

Employee Retention

Anyone else notice the uptick in new job announcements here on LinkedIn? And it’s only January 3rd! In years past, people would begin to look for new opportunities after year-end reviews were in and bonuses paid out.

This is no longer the case, which is why you should always be in retaining mode.

As a manager, you don’t have control over company policy or pay increases. However, you do have control over yourself and the way you manage people—or do you?

Research shows that one of the real secrets to employee happiness and well being, which is directly linked to employee turnover, is an acute sense of autonomy in daily operations.

The Research

Researchers from the University of Birmingham recently studied two years’ worth of data on 20,000 workers to determine the effects of autonomy on employee morale and well being. Generally, the higher levels of independence a worker experienced, the higher their sense of job satisfaction and well being.

Here’s what’s meant by autonomy

Decision-making-Employees can make decisions on their own without having to “run things up the ladder” or get approval from a committee. These decisions are not regularly overturned or tweaked to death by their boss. This makes workers feel more in control over their responsibilities and leaves them with a feeling of job satisfaction.

Trust-Micromanagement is about trust, or shall I say lack of trust. It’s a nasty habit that has a grave impact on both the employee and their manager. Micromanagement leaves people feeling small and inept. Autonomy sends the message that you trust your people to accomplish their goals.

Contributing ideas. When employees feel like their ideas and contributions matter, they’re willing to contribute more frequently, and with more effort. They leave work most days, feeling satisfied with their contribution.

Three steps to nip this nasty habit

Step One: Admit you’ve got a problem. The last person to know they’ve got a problem is usually the person with the problem. That’s why it can be helpful to have someone do a 360 review of your management style. You may not like everything you hear, but at least you’ll know what area to focus on that will yield the highest return.

Step Two: Vow to make a change. It takes courage to let others know that you recognize you’re less than perfect. Let team members know that you are working on breaking this habit and that you’ll be asking for their help. Give them permission to signal you the moment they feel micromanaged.

Step Three: Be patient. Habits are hard to break. It can take months to turn things around. Expect setbacks along the way and celebrate successes.

© Matuson Consulting, 2020. All Rights Reserved.

Questions about how to become a better leader and reduce unwanted attrition? Reach out to me at or leave a comment below.

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