When do most managers ask “What can I do to keep you?”
You guessed it: during exit interviews. It’s a great question, but the timing is off. We suggest you ask it sooner.
You want them to stay—at least for a while longer. They are your stars and your highfliers. And they are your solid citizens too—the people who show up every day to do the work you need them to do.
Your competition wants them, and you can’t afford to lose them.
You don’t have to cling desperately to your talent. You can keep them pumped up and excited about coming to work for you every day. Find out what will keep them engaged and on your team.
If you’re not yet holding stay interviews you are guessing at what your talented people really want—from you, from the team, from their work. You could be guessing wrong.
Stay interviews are just one of many strategies in a successful manager’s playbook. But they are absolutely foundational to engaging, motivating, recognizing and retaining talent.
It seems so simple—just ask!
Yet most managers will admit they are not conducting stay interviews (and their bosses are not conducting them either). Why? Often it’s because they’re afraid of the answers.
They ask, “What if I ask my talented people what will keep them and they all say money or a promotion?” Good point. So the fear of being unable to deliver on someone’s request gets in the way of having the most crucial dialogue of all. Is that true for you?
If you manage even one person, we’re betting you’ve conducted at least one stay interview. You probably didn’t call it that or think of it exactly in those terms. But your intention was no doubt twofold:
1. To let your talented employee know how much you value him, and;
2. To find out what will keep her engaged and on your team.
That’s a stay interview! It’s not complex. It’s simply talking to your employees about what matters most and then working together to make that happen.
Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans are co-authors of the book Hello Stay Interviews, Goodbye Talent Loss. Visit CareerSystemsIntl.com and jeg.org.