Bad Bosses Suck, But a Boring Office Is Worse

Don’t underestimate the profound power of simple gestures.

By Ashley Keating

There’s an old saying: “Employees don’t leave organizations—they leave managers.” 

But a bad boss alone doesn’t make a worker fly the coop: A lack of connection with coworkers can also lead to employee turnover, finds new research in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Most employees search for alternate jobs through a number of different avenues before they leave their current position, but the most common method is an informal job search, the research shows. This includes leveraging outside contacts for job openings and interviews. The more connections an employee has outside of work, of course, the more likely they are to tap those connections to find a new gig.

But the study says when an employee is more involved with their organization, they’re less likely to leave. That means it’s on management to foster organizational connections: Throw happy hours, offer benefits that mesh with cultural values, and bring the occasional box of donuts to Monday morning meetings. 

These seemingly small gestures may have profound and lasting benefits to the organization.

Ashley Keating is an associate consultant at The Talent Strategy Group. She brings diverse expertise in human resources to her consulting through her background in talent management, organizational development. and analytics at NBCUniversal Media, Pepsico and Unum.