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Is the boss to blame for employee exits?

HR managers believe that retention of subordinates is now a key result area for supervisors, reports Rahat Bano.
Hindustan Times | By Rahat Bano, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 21, 2007 02:44 AM IST

The Rules of the Game are changing. Somebody who was forced to quit because his boss did not fancy the nose he was looking at may cheer up with the news that HR managers now believe that retention of subordinates is now a key result area (KRA) for supervisors.

So, an unacceptable attrition rate in a team could mean a “negative” mark for its leader during appraisal.

“Make retention a KRA of supervisors. If you can’t retain, it’s a negative point for the supervisor,” suggested Sanjeev Bikhchandani, founder and CEO,, one of the panelists at the HR Summit organised by Hindustan Times in New Delhi on Thursday.

It is often said that people don’t leave companies or jobs. They leave managers.

Harpreet Datta, Head, HR and Training, Fortis Healthworld, says, “It’s fair (to make retention a leader’s KRA). At the end of the day, an employee spends 8 to 10 hours with the boss. Retention and HR (management) should be part of KRAs of functional heads. When the baby is given (to functional heads), they should take care of the baby, groom the baby. It’s a partnership (between HR and department leaders). Functional heads cannot wash their hands off responsibility.”

But not everybody is open to the idea. For one, some workers may want to leave a company just for the heck of it, or (as a joke goes) so that others don’t think he or she isn’t good enough to find another job, despite the company pandering to his every wish. Yet that might lead to red line in the boss’ report card.

Girish V. Rao, Vice President-Sales and Marketing, LG, says that retention is critical issue. “This will also depend on the corporate policy and how the company treats its people.” Prod him for his take on making retention a KRA, and he says, “In my opinion, no.” He adds, “The supervisor is not the only reason for a person to leave.”

On the survey that found employees resign jobs mostly due to bosses, he responds, “You cannot generalise this. It depends at which level one is talking about.”

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