Retention Challenges: Are Your Managers Leading Talent Out?

by Mar 6, 2023

Are your managers leading talent through the door or out the door? If you are struggling with retention, it’s time to make sure that your managers are trained in the most critical 3-C skills!

For generations our work was process-driven. We created policies and procedures to guide us; if this happens then…that is how to handle it. The outcomes felt structured; inevitable even. The pandemic however, has shown us that there was a whole lot of gray that we didn’t create contingencies for.

In business just like in the rest of our life, we have had to grapple with an emergency situation these past 23 months and while some people have the capacity to take a breath and respond, most human beings are wired to go into their limbic brain that tells us to run, freeze or attack. NOW!


Toll of Pandemic Fatigue on HR and Employee Retention

The truth that we, as a collective (mostly) acknowledge is that we are struggling with the lack of processes that deal with pandemic fatigue or the great resignation.

People are screaming for HR attention. We are exhausted. We are trying to manage up and down while falling apart ourselves. We need help trying to keep our families and our sanity together. But the response has been consistently ‘just give us another two weeks’. HR is not our priority right now. We don’t have time or resources for it. And so retention kept decreasing.

In this race of survival, we forgot about the human beings that are running our businesses. We kept losing people and promoting others from within who were not ready to lead a team, nor were they ever trained or set up for success and so they too left. Or worse, they stayed and people on their team left. And new people came and then they left… ☹️ hmmm

The great resignation is here and it is showing us the consequences of businesses that prioritized profit and product over people. Now what?


Three C’s of Retention

1. Compassion

Compassion says: I see you. I believe in you. I feel for you and for us. I don’t know what’s next but I will do my best. Smart leaders elevate their team members that care. The ones that have a natural ability to experience compassion and empathy (if you need help identifying those people please reach out to us and we can run a talent diagnostic for you).

Ever wonder what does compassion look like in a business setting?

  • Listening
  • Seeing people for who they are not who you need them to be
  • Getting curious and learning what your people need and want right now
  • Not making assumptions and decisions based on your own unconscious bias
  • Including and practicing equity

2. Courage

New leaders of tomorrow also must develop the muscle of courage. Real talk: nobody is born courageous and this is why you must teach the skill of courage to care enough to speak the truth and to be vulnerable enough to admit when you don’t know but still willing to stand up and support your people in the best way you can with the most information you have.

3. Championing

Finally, championing. It may sound like: I believe you can do this. I have seen you do this before. You are capable of doing this. I trust you will do your best.

Smart leaders champion their people to engage in tasks that play off their strengths vs developing their weaknesses. Finding out what turns them on and brings aliveness and a sense of fun back into teamwork. What we need is more passion in workplaces and identifying what people are really good at, then helping them see it for themselves and creating opportunities for them to do what they love!

You might think it’s just business, but it’s always personal. Because businesses are built by people and for people, not machines. This is why compassion, courage and championing are the three C’s of retention and engagement that will help your people to not only walk through the door but stay!

In truly effective leadership, these three skills are delivered in a coaching leadership style.

Coaching is a critical skill for all managers, especially new team leads.

We must stop fixing and solving problems, but rather empower our people to think for themselves and collectively build solutions.

Reach out to us. 


Many organizations ignore employee engagement because it feels elusive and expensive. Rather than getting caught up in the fear and doing nothing, download our eBook on employee engagement, and get started.

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

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