Do Great Managers = Reduced Employee Turnover? (Plus More Findings on Intent to Leave)


During 2015 and 2016, we collected data related to employee experience from over half a million workers who took the PayScale Salary Survey. Our research revealed what matters most — and what doesn’t make much difference — for creating a great employee experience. This is a modified excerpt from the resulting report, The Formula for a Winning Company Culture. Download the full report here.

Beyond the key findings of our study on employee experience, we discovered other interesting nuggets deeper in the data. While not the blockbusters of this particular report, these findings should absolutely be considerations in your employee-engagement planning. Take a look:

Good-Enough Managers Are … Good Enough

One of the advantages of the statistical approach we used is that it allows for nonlinear effects, so the difference between giving a 1 (strongly disagree) and 2 does not need to be the same as the difference between giving a 4 and 5 (strongly agree). As such, we were able test the adage that “You don’t quit a job; you quit a manager.”

What we see here is that employees who disagree that they have a good relationship with their direct manager are more likely to leave than those who are neutral. However, there is essentially no difference between a good manager and a great one when it comes to employee retention.

Conclusion: For managers, it looks like good is good enough.

There is essentially no difference between a good manager and a great one when it comes to #retention.Click To Tweet

Employees With MBAs Are Much More Likely to Plan to Jump Ship

We also compared intent to leave across levels of educational attainment, while controlling for other characteristics of engagement. What we see is that MBA holders are 24 percent more likely to plan on seeking new employment than someone with a bachelor’s degree. Those with less education are less likely to plan on seeking new employment, except for M.D.s who are relatively content to stay put. This is helpful information when considering who may need more, or less, attention.

As Worker Age Goes Up, Intent to Leave Goes Down

No surprises here: As workers age, they become less likely to look elsewhere. Workers between 20 and 29 years of age are 8 percent more likely to plan on seeking a new job than those between 40 and 49, while workers between 50 and 59, or over 60, are 15 percent and 50 percent less likely, respectively.

Want even more big findings from the study, plus specific action items for what you can do to improve employee engagement at your organization? Grab your copy of the whitepaper today!

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Tell Us What You Think

Do you see similar results at your organization? We want to hear from you you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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1 Comment on "Do Great Managers = Reduced Employee Turnover? (Plus More Findings on Intent to Leave)"

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Rachel Stones
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I knew employee retention rates improved with better managers, but that’s so interesting that good versus great had no effect. Thank you for sharing!

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