The number one reason employees leave their jobs to pursue a new opportunity might surprise you: It’s actually related to their frustrations with their career progress, according to a Gallup report. And while it can hurt a company as a whole to lose valuable talent, the departure of an employee can be especially stressful for the manager who was overseeing them.

Managers can play a key role in cultivating talent and ultimately retaining their star employees — potentially avoiding that stressful moment when they give notice. If you’re a manager yourself, you probably have a lot on your plate, and you may worry about how you’ll find the time to mentor each of your team members and help with their trajectories. The good news, though, is that you can get engaged in a way that promotes growth (and retention) while still being mindful of your own well-being and workload. Here’s how.

Check in frequently and directly 

Keeping a consistent and open dialogue won’t just help your employees feel supported — it will actually safeguard them against burnout, according to Gallup’s 2019 report “Exit Programs That Retain Stars and Build Brand Ambassadors.” The report found that employees who say their supervisor is “always willing to listen to their work-related problems” are 62 percent less likely to be burned out, and 70 percent less likely to report burnout if they feel generally supported by their manager. So take time each week to have an informal check-in with your team members, and schedule a more formal sit-down conversation for every other week. That way, you’ll have opportunities to talk about less pressing tasks and more personal topics, as well as a space to discuss deadlines, questions, and concerns. 

Delegate tasks that will help them grow 

Although some managers might be wary of delegating, assigning tasks to team members can simultaneously lighten your load and teach them something new. “Delegation is one of those things that can really set a tone for a team and an organization,” DeAnne Aussem, the managing director of learning and development at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), tells Thrive. “Under-delegating can potentially limit team members’ development and keep them on the bench. Great leaders take time to customize their approach to each person.” Dedicate some time to hone in your team members’ interests and potential areas for improvement, as well as their current workloads. If possible, give them tasks that will allow them to explore a passion or help develop new or existing skills. 

Develop a forward-looking mindset, together

You won’t be able to help your team grow if you are left in the dark about their professional goals. One of your employees might have an interest or skill you could help develop — yet you’ll never know if you don’t talk about it. What’s more, Gallup has found that managers who have trusting relationships with their employees are better able to address concerns and predict future turnover. By simply discussing short-term and long-term goals with their employees, managers can play a crucial role in cultivating and retaining talent. 

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