Transition at the managerial level is one of the most difficult experiences an organization can have.
It can disrupt an organization’s culture, and potentially signals instability to employees, partners, customers, investors, and other stakeholders. For these reasons, and a lot of others, change at the management and executive level is something a company wants to experience as few times as possible.
The bad news: 98 % of European Managers are on the leave
According to a recent Robertson Associates survey of more than 450 managers across Europe, managers are very open to changing companies. In fact, 98% of European managers are open to new career opportunities, with 68% indicating they are “definitely open”. If you are the CEO or owner of a company, the harsh reality is that nearly every one of your managers is at least considering working for someone else. Planning your long-term corporate strategy is a bit more difficult when you realize that the very people responsible for implementing that strategy are open to leaving.
Why are so many managers willing to consider other opportunities? The Robertson Associates team asked that, and the answers were surprising.
- 43% of managers indicated a general need for change - by far and away the number one answer
- 27% of managers said that their main reason for looking elsewhere was a lack of opportunity at their current employer
- 20% of managers were just dissatisfied with their current employer.
The least mentioned reason for considering other opportunities? Salary!
The good news: There are proven ways to make them stay
What does this data mean for employers? It shows managers are leaving because of boredom, lack of opportunity, and general unhappiness. Companies can proactively try and address these issues through creating new challenges for managers as well actively coaching senior talent. While there is a limit to how many new opportunities can be created (a company can only have so many managing directors), companies should try and stretch an employee’s skill set, especially when the employee in question is a senior executive. Giving managers new challenges is not only a way to improve retention, but also an opportunity to create pockets of innovation within an organization.
Another strategy for limiting managerial transition is to invest in coaching and assessment. Engaging in dialogue through coaching can help identify sources of dissatisfaction before your manager starts looking for another job. A good coach not only helps prevent talent from leaving – they can also play an integral role in helping a dissatisfied manager become a high-performing future executive.
Understanding the motivation of the potential new hire.
That said, sometimes managers inevitably leave. Your company just may not be able to offer an employee the opportunities he or she needs to grow. If that happens you will have a position to fill, and then your company is on the other side of this dissatisfaction dynamic. You now have to hire a manager, and your next hire is likely leaving his or her old company for the reasons listed above. While the potential hire may think a new job is the answer to his or her troubles, the reality is that a new job may be a temporary antidote, at best.
Yes, the employee will meet new people and learn new processes at a new job, but is that really enough to satisfy a need for change? Is a need for change even what the employee is looking for? Or are they part of the 20% that are just unhappy with their current employer? If so, why are they unhappy? Potential hires are trying to sell themselves, and may be reluctant to talk about why he or she is leaving the last job. They are there to talk about the new opportunity, and to convince you that they are the best possible fit. However, make sure you know exactly why your new hire is leaving their last job, otherwise you might find your company becoming a revolving door of management talent.
An executive search consultant can help your hiring manager.
As a hiring manager you need to know exactly why your potential new hire is leaving their last job. Maybe they needed change – and maybe your company shares a lot of similarities with their last employer. Maybe they hated the culture – and maybe your culture is very similar. In my view, a good search consultant isn’t just a “recruiter” but must be his client’s trusted Partner. Executive search consultants get to know your industry, your competitive landscape, and most importantly, your company culture.
Moreover, potential hires tend to be more open with search consultants, particularly regarding the reason he or she is considering leaving their last job. If I look at our mandates, we serve as both an informational bridge between employers and job candidates and as a coach and motivator for current managers.
The combination of all these elements is what we call durable leadership solutions.