Leaders should do more than reduce turnover

Great leaders can take people where they don’t want to go
By Brian Orr
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/22/2002

It is often said employees don’t leave the organization they leave the manager. While it is invariably true that good leaders are crucial to staff retention, they are also much more. Good leaders are the fundamental ingredient to sustained organizational success.

A number of factors affect staff retention. Organizations that hold onto employees create a work environment that is attractive to the people who are critical to organizational success. These companies don’t think of employees as workers but treat them as associates or partners.

Among the many factors that affect staff retention, the most fundamental component is the presence of people-centred leadership. The quality of leadership, especially in supervisory roles, impacts the quality of work life and improves the organization’s ability to retain employees. It is great leadership that creates a supportive work environment, challenging work, recognition and respect. When leaders focus on people, the organization will also typically have competitive compensation and benefits programs. But quality leadership means much more than simply ensuring low staff turnover.