Keeping Good Employees

Understanding Why Good Workers Quit

“What do you need to want to stay?” Most managers, she acknowledges, are afraid to ask this question and that is a reason why their companies have to do plenty of exit interviews. When stay interviews are part of the culture—and this is a practice in very few companies—attrition of the people you don’t want to lose plummets.

“Ask them directly: What can we do to keep you?,” urges Kaye. And don’t be shy or dishonest. If the employee asks for things you cannot deliver, be direct in acknowledging it but also indicate what you can do. Know, too, that just by talking to employees in this way you are scoring points because it’s something that just does not happen in most companies.

More concretely, Karen Fink, vice president of human resources for Edmunds.com, said that the glue her company uses to keep top IT workers is as simple as interesting work. “Technical workers tend to remain with an organization where they have the opportunity to contribute to interesting projects that stretch their skill sets and where they have the opportunity to be educated on the latest technologies.”

Good advice. I like direct, simple, questions. What can we do to keep you? What do you enjoy about your job? What do you dislike? What can I do to increase your joy in work? What one thing would you most like to see changed? What do you want to see continue? Would you like help in some aspect of your career development? What can I do better? Am I providing too much oversight, not enough?

Give honest straight forward answers to questions. If someone wants to move ahead and needs to work harder to advance their career tell them that. If they need to be more cooperative, develop certain skills… tell them. The idea is not just to make the person happy in that meeting. If they need to work on certain things to get where they want then help them do that. Give your best advice and say what they can do to improve.

Related: People are Our Most Important AssetWhat 1 Thing Can We Improve?IT Talent Shortage, or Management Failure?Silicon Valley Style HiringHow to ImproveRespect for People, Understanding PsychologyThe Joy of Work

3 thoughts on “Keeping Good Employees

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