March 30, 2017 – Colleen Niese -

Before They Leave, Are You Asking Them to Stay?

What if you were to learn that the top 25% of your team was contemplating leaving your company in the next twelve months?  What would you do first, second, third to mitigate that type of loss?  According to Harvard Business Review, that’s the exact percentage of employees they found in a recent study interested in moving onto the next opportunity.

Last week we discussed the value of an Exit Interview and in the same breath we’d recommend the Stay Interview as a superior way to find out what’s working, what’s not and what needs to change to ensure retention and continued levels of engagement.  Use these three easy tips to conduct and more importantly act on what you learn from Stay Interviews.

Be on the alert.  If you sense an employee losing interest, reducing his/her involvement within any given task or project, don’t rationalize that perhaps it’s a phase she/he is going through or hope that when she/he returns from vacation his/her energy level will return to normal.  Pay attention to the verbal and nonverbal signals your team members may be sending, and if you get a feeling someone’s disengaged, respond to it directly and immediately.

Know what you want to ask.  Many times managers who receive a resignation feel they have done a good job checking with their employees levels of satisfaction and engagement.  However, there’s a difference between a passing question along the lines of, “everything okay?” and setting aside dedicated time to gain meaningful levels of insight from your employees on where they’re at with their careers.  Here’s a few good leading questions to get that type of dialogue going:

  • How well are their career objectives being met?
  • How well does the on the job experience align with their understanding of the role during the interview process?
  • Which aspects of the job do they enjoy the most? The least?
  • Dothey feel they’re given real opportunities to grow their career?
  • What might persuade them to look elsewhere?

Talk Is Cheap.  Like the overarching guidance given with employee surveys: if one cannot respond to the feedback received, one shouldn’t ask the question.  Write down and agree to any action items you’ve committed to during the Stay Interview and follow up according to any deadline you may have set.  Make sure that when you do, you connect it back to the Stay Interview so the employee has an appreciation of the broader context.

Do you have a question about assessing your talent that we can answer?  If so, drop us a note at