Many organizations conduct exit interviews with outgoing employees.
But exit interviews are overrated. Most people who quit their job are angry, disgruntled or ambitious.
If they’re angry, they may speak irrationally. Disgruntled staffers tend to lose perspective. And ambitious people may hesitate to speak frankly because they don’t want to burn bridges and ruin their chances for rehire later.
Instead of putting too much stock in exit interviews, conduct “stay interviews” with current employees. Every quarter, meet privately with them and ask three questions:
1. What keeps you here? Find out what motivates each team member. Do people hope to advance? Do they enjoy the autonomy or intellectual challenge of their job? Do they feel that they work in a collegial work environment?
The answers offer a road map on how to retain employees. To keep your stars, you need to plug gaps before it’s too late.
2. What type of offer would lure you away? This question helps you identify ways to improve your compensation package and beat back competitors who try to recruit your stars. Employees might suggest that they’d love to work from home more often or that they’d like an expanded scope of responsibility.
3. What would cause you to quit? It’s important to know what employees value about your culture. Perhaps it’s the high priority placed on ethical dealings with customers or the type of perks you offer. Let staffers tell you how much they appreciate certain aspects of the status quo—and how they might leave if the culture declined.
— Adapted from Top 20 Keys to Effective Leadership, Curtis Odom, Adducent.