“I’m leaving…because my boss communicates too much” said no one ever in their exit interview

“I’m leaving…because my boss communicates too much” said no one ever in their exit interview

By Lesley Spencer

One of the number one reasons cited by those looking to leave their roles is that they don’t know enough about where the business is headed, what that means for them, how what they do fits in with the bigger picture, and how they can develop and grow!

I came across an interesting statistic that employees need to hear the same message seven times before they start to listen and take it onboard. Until then, they just think it’s another soundbite or piece of management jargon.

How often do you communicate with your teams?

I mean, properly communicate – repeating key messages and making sure your team understand the business’s priorities and what you’re working towards. Explaining why what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis is important and is helping the business achieve its vision, emphasising how what they are focusing on helps them develop and learn; and how many times do you remind them of where the business is headed, the role they play in the future of the business and what lies ahead for them?

Effective communication with your team is absolutely vital for engagement, productivity, and retention. Without it, employees feel directionless, undervalued, and left behind. They don’t understand how their work fits the big picture or contributes to the company’s goals. And they have no visibility into what the future holds for them in terms of career growth and development.

This communication vacuum leads to disengagement, lack of motivation, and ultimately higher turnover as employees leave to find better opportunities where they feel more connected to the business strategy and their professional path.

The data shows employees need to hear messages multiple times before they sink in. Yet, managers often communicate key information only once without any repetition or reinforcement. They make the mistake of thinking “I’ve told them already” without realising the critical importance of frequent reminders.

What should you communicate with your team about?

As a manager, you should be communicating regularly in multiple formats: team meetings, one-on-one check-ins, email summaries, intranet updates, etc …. about:

  • Company vision and strategic priorities.
  • How various projects and tasks ladder up to those priorities.
  • What success looks like, and key results expected.
  • Individual roles contribute to that success.
  • Development areas to build skills and advance careers.
  • Business updates and future direction.

It may sound excessive, but employees genuinely crave this context and clarity. The time investment required to communicate well is far outweighed by the benefits of higher engagement, stronger performance, and longer-term retention of your top talent.

What is the impact if you don’t communicate regularly?

Some managers complain they “don’t have time” for better communication. But consider the alternative. If you don’t make communication a priority, you’ll inevitably spend copious time interviewing replacements when employees quit, getting new hires up to speed, and losing essential knowledge about your business and your clients.

The irony is that failing to communicate leads to even greater time drains down the road. Whereas with relatively little effort, increased communication provides tremendous returns for both employees and the business. It’s truly a case where “less is more” does not apply.

Even a small boost to your communication frequency and transparency can positively transform how connected and valued your employees feel. The more they know about what’s going on and why their work matters, the higher their engagement, productivity, and retention will be over time.

“There’s a reason no one has ever said in an exit interview that their manager communicated too much.”

However, when communication breaks down, talent loss is sure to follow. Dodging tough conversations and hoping disengaged employees will turn themselves around rarely works.

How can you improve your communication?

As a leader, it’s your job to connect the dots on strategy for your team and pave a path for both company and individual success. Communicate early, often, and openly about what matters most, tailored to what your people need to know and want to hear.

Here are some best practices for managers to improve their overall communication effectiveness:

  • Set expectations clearly: Document roles, responsibilities and priorities for each employee so they understand what needs to be achieved.
  • Give ongoing feedback: Provide regular, specific praise and constructive criticism regarding work products and behaviours.
  • Share departmental metrics: Review dashboards, KPIs and goal progress frequently so everyone is on the same page.
  • Solicit input: Ask open-ended questions to uncover concerns before they escalate to the point of resignation.
  • Conduct ‘stay’ interviews: Have periodic forward-looking career conversations exploring needs and aspirations.
  • Listen actively: Let employees share ideas and issues without interrupting them or reacting defensively.
  • Translate company news: Explain how firm-wide updates specifically affect the department or team.
  • Have skip-level meetings: Meet directly with indirect reports to gather unfiltered opinions about what’s working well and what’s not.
  • Be prepared to learn and adapt: Gathering opinions is all fair and well, but what do you do with them? Always be prepared to learn and adapt if the feedback you receive is valid and can benefit both you as a manager and your team or business.

Communicating more requires effort but pays off exponentially in employee satisfaction, engagement and retention over the long term. No one wants to hear “I’m leaving…because my boss failed to communicate effectively” ever again. Make time for meaningful communication right now because the cost of lacklustre leadership communication hurts everyone involved.

If you are struggling to communicate it to your employees honestly and authentically so that they can help you deliver on the firm’s objectives, then please call 0333 7722 061 or email Kate here and we can arrange a time to talk.