The no. 1 reason people leave their jobs

Author Brad Law
March 30, 2022

The leadership skills of managers are the greatest source of employee fulfilment, writes Ciaran Foley, Head of Frazer Jones, Australia. 

Companies can offer more money, training and development, recognition programs rewarding the right behaviours and many other benefits. But there are better ways to help you retain your key talent. 

In our Asia-Pacific HR Salary Survey for 2016, we asked HR professionals across the region about what motivates them to perform and remain with their employer. The results specific to Australian employees make interesting reading.  

HR professionals from multinational corporations, professional partnerships as well as small to medium-sized organisations told us what they value most about their job, and there were two aspects of their work which scored much more strongly than anything else. 

The strongest response highlighted the importance of the relationship with their manager. It is interesting that in the ever changing world we work in, the relationship people have with their direct manager still takes precedence over everything else. It has been said that people leave managers, not companies and it would appear that in this age of increased flexible working options and technological advancements (meaning less face time with your manager!), the strength of this relationship is still the key factor in retaining staff. This is reflected in the conversations that I have with HR professionals on a regular basis. Whether a relationship has soured or was never properly established, one of the most common must-haves in their next role is a manager they can trust, respect and work collaboratively with. 

The other response which ranked well above the rest was the company culture. This does reflect how businesses have evolved and changed or perhaps how some businesses have been slower to change. People strongly value the culture of the company they work in and they are making a conscious decision to work for a business based on the culture it has created. 

These two responses highlight the importance that the HR community can play in retaining talented staff. 

Whilst managers must be accountable for their leadership and communication style, HR can develop these skills in their leaders (and future leaders). With many people leaving companies because of the relationship they have with their manager, I believe this represents a commercially strong business case for investing in leadership training. Excellent leaders will keep excellent staff. 

Cultivating a culture can take time to successfully permeate through a business. The consensus from conversations I have with HR leaders is that this needs to start from the top, with senior leaders demonstrating the values and role modelling the behaviours expected of each employee. Our research demonstrates that this is a journey well worth taking if you want to retain your star performers. 

To download a copy of Frazer Jones’ 2016 APAC Salary Guide, please click here