People Management Skills, Employee Attrition, and Manager Rewards: An Empirical Analysis

Mitchell Hoffman, Steven Tadelis

NBER Working Paper No. 24360
Issued in February 2018
NBER Program(s):Corporate Finance, Labor Studies, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

How much do a manager's interpersonal skills with subordinates, which we call people management skills, affect employee outcomes? Are managers rewarded for having such skills? Using personnel data from a large, high-tech firm, we show that survey-measured people management skills have a strong negative relation to employee turnover. A causal interpretation is reinforced by research designs exploiting new workers joining the firm and managers moving jobs. However, people management skills do not consistently improve non-attrition outcomes. Better people managers are themselves more likely to receive higher subjective performance ratings and to be promoted.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24360

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