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Want Top Talent? Listen

It seems like common sense but a new study has found that managers who listen are the ones who attract top talent.

According to, managers who are open to employee input are more likely to attract workers from other units in their organizations, says a new Cornell University study.

John McCarthy and JR Keller, assistant professors at Cornell, found that having a manager who listens is relevant for employees’ career-related preferences and behaviors, the web site explains.

The researchers also found that managers who encourage employee input may gain an internal recruiting advantage over those who do not.

“One implication of this study is that it provides managers yet another reason to listen to their direct reports’ suggestions as organizations figure out what the ‘new normal’ is going to look like in a post-COVID world,” Keller tells newswise. “Not only will their current employees appreciate having a say, but they will be in a position to attract other employees looking for new opportunities.”

McCarthy and Keller measured managerial openness to voice – defined as the degree to which employees perceive that their manager encourages and takes seriously their ideas and suggestions for improvement – by asking teachers in the study to report how open their principal was to input, newswise reports.

"They then measured internal attraction by asking the superintendent and human resources director how much interest open jobs at each school received from teachers within the district. The results revealed a significant, positive relationship between managers who are open to input and internal attraction," the web site continues.

“Indeed, we find, across two studies using two different measures of internal attraction, that employee outsiders are more attracted to units whose managers are perceived to be open to voice, but they also avoid units whose managers are perceived to be averse to voice,” the authors wrote at

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