More than a quarter of workers say they’re ready to leave their current job

More than a quarter of employees globally say they don’t see themselves with their current employer in the next year, according to a Dec. 18 report from Boston Consulting Group.

Workers named emotional needs among their top concerns, such as feeling respected and enjoying their job. According to the survey, managers had the most influence over these factors.

Importantly, great managers were associated with a 72% reduction in attrition, as well as a 3.2-times increase in employee motivation, 13.9-times increase in job satisfaction and a significant increase in feelings of inclusion.

“Managers also play a key role in companies achieving their diversity, equity and inclusion goals,” Gabrielle Novacek, a managing director and partner at BCG, said in a statement. “We know that inclusion is critical if we want to attract, engage and retain a diverse workforce.”

In a survey of 11,000 employees from eight countries, BCG tested more than 20 needs, including functional needs such as pay, hours and benefits and emotional needs such as fair treatment, respect and fulfillment with work. When asked directly what would lead them to take a new job, employees focused on functional factors such as pay, benefits and work/life balance.

However, when employees were asked to make choices between different aspects of work, emotional needs also rose to the top. Pay and hours were still the main priorities, but fair treatment, respect, job security and enjoying work moved into top spots as well.

When correlated with employees’ intention to stay, functional benefits dropped to the bottom of the list while emotional factors became most important. In addition, strong dissatisfaction with managers led to a doubling of attrition risk. Upskilling managers could better aid retention overall, according to the report.

“Most companies think they are already investing in building their frontline leader capabilities, but what is required is a step change in thinking — fundamentally rethinking what great managers do and how they do it and investing in true enablement to sustainably build manager skills,” Deborah Lovich, a managing director and senior partner at BCG, said in a statement.

Employee attraction and retention efforts require more emotional intelligence to focus on employee well-being and satisfaction, according to a report from The Integrated Benefits Institute. More employees are looking for a holistic package of well-being, meaningful work and customizable benefits, including flexible work options, increased communication and employee development programs.

Emotional needs are a priority, too. Workers say they want an empathetic and emotionally intelligent employer, and they’re willing to take a pay cut to find one, according to an HP report. Employees want greater purpose, empowerment and connection in the workplace, which employers can foster through increased voice and agency, skills development and a supportive hybrid work experience.

As employees consider their functional and emotional needs related to job choices, leaders can lead with listening, says Jim Link, the CHRO of the Society for Human Resource Management. By listening to employees regularly and giving daily feedback, leaders can respond to minor concerns before they become major issues that lead to burnout and attrition.