You want your talented people to stay. And not just stay, but be satisfied, engaged, and highly productive. Employees, at all levels, want just a little more – of something. Leaders and employees alike can get more of what they want by simply remembering to ask.
Too often we find out what our talented employees wanted during the exit interview. And by then, it’s usually too late. Don’t wait until they have one foot out the door. Take action now. Conduct stay interviews with all of the employees on your team.
Start by telling your good people (high flyers and solid citizens alike) how important they are to you and the organization. Then ask them what will keep them. Or ask them what they want to learn next or what kind of new challenge they’d like. If you don’t already have a list of your favorite questions, try some of these, excerpted from Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, Kaye and Jordan-Evans, 2014:
- What will keep you here? What might entice you away?
- What is most energizing about your work?
- Are we fully utilizing your talent? Are we inhibiting your success?
- What can I do to make your job more satisfying?
- What makes for a great day?
- Do we support your career goals? How could we do better?
- Do you get enough recognition? What kind would you like?
Imagine the answers you might get to these questions. Think how much more you’ll know about your treasured employees. And, if you get a response you dread – such as, “I’ll stay for a ten percent raise,” don’t panic. Be honest, explain the constraints you face, but show you care enough to hear them out and to do something about the request. Say something like, “You’re worth that and more to me and to this team. I will see what can be done and by when. Let’s meet again next Friday to discuss what I’ve learned. Meanwhile, what else do you want?” We guarantee you there will be at least something they want that you can give.
Interested in learning more? Watch Beverly Kaye, co-author of Love’ Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay and Hello Stay Interviews Goodbye Talent Loss (scheduled for release in May 2015), talk about Stay Interviews with Verne Harnish at the Fortune 2014 Growth Summit.