Original Research

The influence of leadership behaviours on talent retention: An empirical study

Michelle R. Mey, Paul Poisat, Carmen Stindt
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1504 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1504 | © 2021 Michelle R. Mey, Paul Poisat, Carmen Stindt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 October 2020 | Published: 28 April 2021

About the author(s)

Michelle R. Mey, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Paul Poisat, Graduate School, Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Carmen Stindt, Unit of Statistical Consultation, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Top talent remains the main source of organisational competitive advantage. The ability to attract, motivate and develop Talent management and retention of high performing employees is imperative for organisations to survive and thrive in today’s dynamic and volatile complex world of work. Studies reveal that employees’ intentions to stay or quit are influenced by the leadership behaviours of managers.

Research purpose: The focus of this study was to identify the leadership behaviours that influence talent retention.

Motivation for the study: To determine the leadership behaviour preferences of South African employees, as well as the extent to which these behaviours influence talent retention.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative research approach was adopted utilising a non-experimental comparative research design. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to determine the nature of the underlying factor structure that emerged from the Leadership Behaviour Importance and Leadership Behaviour Experience scales respectively. Snowball convenience sampling was used, attracting 711 useable responses.

Main findings: This study revealed that the retention of skilled, engaged employees requires leaders who can provide them with a sense of belonging, respect, empowerment, support their personal growth and development, and provide them with flexibility and freedom in executing their duties.

Practical/managerial implications: Leaders need to demonstrate certain behaviours which include providing a sense of belonging, respect, empowerment, support for personal growth, flexibility and connecting at the human interface. This is important in an increasingly technology-driven world, and more recently, under the working conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is believed that the ability of leaders to connect at the human interface will continue to significantly influence talent retention, in the future.

Contributions: This study will benefit future organisational leaders in better understanding the specific leadership behaviours that enhance talent retention and talent retention strategies.


Keywords

Leadership, leadership behaviour, talent retention, talent management strategy, South African organisations

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