Illustration by Eric Jackson

Study after study has highlighted the fact that employees don’t leave companies, they leave their bosses. The relationship that new-hires form with their managers is critical to whether they will stay in a job—even more significant than forming friendships with co-workers.

“The manager relationship is by far the most important,” says Dick Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics and author of The Stay Interview: A Manager’s Guide to Keeping the Best and Brightest. “Peers and mentors can provide new employees with information, but they don’t have the authority that requires trust. The manager has authority to fire you and make your life miserable, so you need to have trust in that relationship. If new employees leave a great onboarding program, but they don’t trust their manager, you’ve erased the benefits of the onboarding program.”

Finnegan adds that, “Employees view their job and their company through the prism of how they see their boss.” He points to a study by recruiting and talent management solutions Kenexa, now part of IBM Smarter Workforce, in which 1,000 employees who recently quit their jobs were asked to rate pay, benefits, development, advancement and their relationships with supervisors. The study found that the employees’ relationships with their supervisors influenced their opinions about pay, benefits, development and advancement opportunities. Those who had a good relationship with their supervisor gave higher ratings to those four areas, while those who didn’t like their bosses, rated those areas low.