Signs your frontline manager could be a flight risk

October 17, 2018|By Brad Scott

Here’s a statistic: the average employee turnover rate, across all industries, is right around 10 percent.

In the service industry, however, it’s not uncommon to see numbers much higher than this. In 2017, the restaurant industry saw turnover rates of 73 percent, with manager turnover at around 25 percent. To put that in perspective, imagine starting the year with 100 employees. With these statistics, you’d be losing 73 employees – not to mention a quarter of your managers – by the end of the year. This type of operation not only puts a stain on company morale, it’s also extremely expensive. In fact, according to a study from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, the cost of replacing an hourly employee is $5,864. Multiply that by 73 employees and that’s over $425,000 in added annual expenses as a result.

Left Quote Mark

When employees leave, it’s bad for business. When those employees are your frontline managers, the effects can be even greater.

Frontline managers are your company’s foot soldiers, responsible for executing much of the business’ day-to-day operations. They supervise other employees. They make critical business decisions. And in many cases, your frontline managers serve as the first line of defense when it comes to dealing with customer service issues.

Despite their importance to your company’s bottom line, frontline managers are frequently the most inexperienced tier of management in any given organization, oftentimes taking on a leadership role for the first time. To add, employee retention among frontline managers is a constant challenge for service industry franchisees and HR professionals.

So how do you ensure your frontline managers thrive at work? Begin by understanding why these employees typically leave in the first place. Here are five reasons your frontline manager might be a flight risk:


  1. They were never trained

    Even someone with previous managerial experience isn’t going to understand what makes your company and your customers different. All employees need guidance and direction. New employees need even more support in learning the nuances of your organization, especially if they’re going to be expected to lead others on the team. Lack of training can cause an otherwise capable manager to fall behind in their level of performance and cause them to question their own abilities.


  2. You don’t encourage them to think for themselves

    The role of a manager is to do just that, manage. Your frontline managers should be trusted to make everyday decisions, from how they lead their teams to how they organize their day. They also want to feel valued and appreciated.

    Be approachable, encourage collaborative efforts and ask for their opinion. When your managers feel respected, it will trickle down to how they ultimately treat the rest of your employees.


  3. There’s no incentive

    No one wants to work hard only for someone else to reap all the benefits. At the end of the day, your employees, particularly your frontline managers who deal with the brunt of daily operations, should feel a sense of accomplishment. Whether that’s a solid benefits package or a strong company mission, find ways for everyone to feel good about the work they’re doing.


Keeping Your Front Line in Tact
It’s fairly simple: when your managers are successful, your company is successful. The most effective managers are the ones who are able to inspire and guide others to succeed. In order to make sure your frontline managers are successful, you must invest the time and effort into recruiting and training qualified individuals. And once they’re on board, you must continue to nurture your talent, always remembering that their time spent working for you should be mutually beneficial.

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