Senior Manager Impact on Staff Retention (Case Study)

Senior manager impact on staff retention was the focus of a recent workshop with a group of twenty senior managers from a high transaction, high pressure, environment.

The business was growing quickly, and delivered a high quality service. The issue was high staff turnover. Could Engage provide insight into what the issues were, and how to address?

Engage Group Profile

The following Engage Profile provides a summary of the group of managers, and how they compared to the Norm group.

Senior manager impact on staff retention

At a high level the group profile showed an engaged, highly confident and performing set of managers. They were, however, less open suggesting a degree of rigidity and resistance to change.

Engage Profile – Detail

Engage measures thoughts, beliefs and attitudes relating to change and performance. Our confidence, openness and beliefs around impact are a key determinant to personal development and performance.

The following shows the 15 Engage scales for the group as a whole, compared to Norm.

Senior manager impact on staff retention

By reviewing each score we gain a unique perspective on those thoughts and beliefs which drove these manager’s performance, and those which might be derailing or hindering senior manager impact on staff retention.

High scores

High scores typically accelerate change and performance. When individuals score very highly, there is the potential for blind spots or derailers which might negatively impact those they manage.

  • Personal Capability, that is confidence in role, suggests a group of managers feeling confident, resilient, resourceful with high levels of motivation. Potential derailers include being selective in feedback, ignoring negative feedback and a potential to not delegate as “I can this do this job better than anyone else”.
  • External Awareness suggests a group confident in unfamiliar settings and with large groups, enjoying the limelight.  This was important in their role. The potential derailers included being distracted by interacting with others rather than focussing on the task at hand.
  • Emotional Commitment suggests an empowered, loyal, satisfied and engaged group of managers. These are important to driving performance. Potential derailers included a displaced sense of loyalty, work overload and stress.

Low scores

Low scores typically inhibit or interfere with change and performance. In the case of these managers the following applied:

  • Interpersonal Skill, that is perception of relating to others. Scoring low suggests a group of managers more aloof, reserved, showing low concern for others, and likely to have low awareness of impact on others. They were more likely to prioritise task over people.
  • Adaptability, a low score suggests managers who are more rigid in their approach, less flexible, wary of change. The result is likely to be a group who are seen by others as inflexible, and think their way is right.

Profile Summary

Reviewing the profile as a whole, an insight is gained on senior manager impact on staff retention.  The company is lead by highly capable, confident, committed and driven managers. However, there is lack of focus on the individual, and managers, on the whole, are more rigid and resistant to change.

Sustainable personal change is driven by increased self awareness. If I don’t realise the problem is mine, I am unlikely to do anything about it. By raising awareness that organisational issues were driven, at least in part, by the manager’s own behaviours it paved the way for real insight, action and change.

A highly focussed workshop allowed managers to assess personal accelerators, derailers and inhibitors, writing detailed personal development plans as a result.


There was universal surprise that their high sense of personal capability, commitment and drive had a potential negative, as well as positive, impact on their employees. By being so driven, there was a sense that nothing was good enough. Perfectionism ruled. The result was demotivation for staff as they felt as if they were constantly failing. As a direct consequence of this increased self awareness they determined to differentiate what tasks required a “good enough” approach as compared to “perfection”.

They spent some considerable time discussing how open to be with employees. There was a cultural element here too as a number of the managers were from different continents. Particularly for those from East Asia, there was real insight as to the importance of building rapport with employees.  As a group they also committed to asking for regular feedback from employees, and seeking to be more “human” and open in their interactions.

At the end of the workshop, each manager wrote a set of smart actions, and presented them to the group to ensure accountability.

Feedback after the day was excellent and the board wanted to repeat the exercise. We will work with this group again, and assess the degree of shift to assess the impact of the programme. The results should be interesting.



Engage provides a scientific approach to determining blockers and enablers to change and improved performance. Included within the Engage approach is a robust personal development methodology to support personal change in order to achieve organisational objectives.

Author :Mark Bateman, CEO of Engage Coach International.

©  Engage Coach International 2017