Great People Managers Create Better Workplaces

We’ve all heard the saying: people don’t quit their jobs; they quit their managers.

But in my experience, the problem is always bigger than one toxic individual. Unsatisfying work is a product of an unsatisfying workplace.

People leave their workplaces when they feel unappreciated, overburdened, excluded, unsafe or besieged by personal conflict. After a bad day at the office, 45 percent of employees who have been with their companies less than a year admitted to applying to new jobs, according to a 2018 study by the Work Institute.

Skilled people managers are essential to creating better workplace cultures. And when workplaces have great managers, HR has more space to pursue its strategic and leadership roles.

An important step in developing great managers is empowering them to initiate candid, critical conversations with and among employees. We can’t know if our culture is working for everyone unless we foster open discussions with those who experience it every day.

That is why I am encouraging people managers and HR professionals to develop an ethos of strategic, issue-driven conversations that can improve cultures.

This should not be top-down communication, but should take the shape of one-on-one social encounters, where each person is on equal footing. When managers and their reports—and peers with peers—sit down to talk about specific workplace issues, real change can happen. Solving issues like harassment, skills gaps, inclusion and equity in the workplace is a collective effort.

Those of you attending the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas this month will hear more about SHRM’s challenge to workplace decision-makers to have crucial conversations about workplace culture. We want to help you create workplaces where real conversations are driving strategic change.

When we can fix what’s wrong at work, we improve lives beyond the workplace.


The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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