It seems like nearly every day a new lawsuit is launched by a company accusing another employer of poaching workers. The valued employees have walked out of the door, lawsuits charge, and taken company knowledge to the competitor.
While the courts will decide whether any laws have been broken in these instances, it should be a wake- up call for any employer, no matter how big or small.
That’s because companies that don’t work to get their employees to stay may just see them go. So not only do they risk losing key information to a competitor, they lose the time and talents of workers who are costly to replace – often up to 20% of that person’s salary.
In a new book, “The Stay Interview,” author Richard P. Finnegan says that any company that wants to hang onto its talent needs to ask one question: “What can I do to make your job better?”
Finnegan, CEO of C-Suite Analytics, a company specializing in engagement and retention, says that once this question is asked, it can get the ball rolling. An employee may address how he or she would like to work on more interesting projects, for example. On the other hand, the manager may also get a blank stare, a shoulder shrug and an “I don’t know,” response.
Whatever the reply, managers need to probe deeper as they begin this retention process, he says.
“Even if the person doesn’t seem to have an answer, say you want to talk again in three days,” he advises. “What you’re trying to do is the get the person to trust you, and it’s a process.”
That means bosses can’t send an email requesting an answer to the question or be impersonal. “This is a conversation,” he says.
Finnegan is aware that many managers will balk at having such conversations, and he’s heard many of the excuses before. From “I don’t have time,” to “to “We already collect employee data.”
But that won’t wash, and many managers know it. If they’re asked what really matters most to Bob or Heather, they’re likely to give superficial answers and be unable to offer specifics because they’re relying only on surveys or analytics. The deeper probing through listening sessions is never attempted by such managers.
Until a leader spends the time asking individual employees what will keep them engaged and productive in their jobs, they’re only making educated guesses on what engages their workers. That’s why having such a conversation is key, Finnegan says, so that you can track which employees are in danger of walking, and which ones are thriving and productive.
Finnegan says that managers can begin stay interviews by asking questions such as:
- When you come to work each day, what (read more here)
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