Way back in February, I wrote about the “Stay Interview” and I wanted to add a bit more information about that since it seemed to be a particular topic of interest.
Most of us are quite familiar with the exit interview; however, it seems that the reasons employees stay is not asked nearly as frequently as why employees leave. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. When we do something right, shouldn’t we be curious about what those things are?
Most organizations have some high-performing employees just as they have some that perhaps don’t perform as well as we’d like. I have often wondered why it is that we focus so much time and energy on those that don’t perform as well as we’d like and seem to overlook giving attention to those who do well.
As a result of this curiosity, I started to ask a few of the better performing employees some questions about their jobs.
- What is it that you particularly like about the job?
- What is it that keeps you motivated?
- How do you feel about being recognized – is it enough?
- Are there things that you would like to learn (self-improvement, new skills) that we can possibly help you with?
- If you could change your job in any way, what changes would you make?
- If you ever hear others complain, what types of things do you hear about? In other words, what could we, as a company improve upon?
- When you have a really good day at work, what makes it so good?
What I started to learn is that communication really started to open up and new ideas were starting to come forward – even from those that used to complain more frequently than we wanted.
Once you start to pay attention in a positive way, and let your employees know that you do appreciate them, it’s interesting to see how others will improve just for the recognition.
I think that exit interviews do have a place – I know there is a great deal we can learn from them as well – I just think it makes more sense to improve upon what we have when we have it rather than wait until people are leaving.
The other problem with exit interviews (in my opinion) is that employees are not always as open and honest as we might hope because they are on their way out. They don’t care that much anymore; and besides, they won’t even reap the benefits of seeing any changes (if any result) once they are gone.
On the other hand, when employees have an opportunity to be actively involved in changes and can see things improving, feeling they may have played a part in those improvements; doesn’t that just make more sense?
It seems to me that we are constantly looking for ways to engage our employees and motivate them when possibly, it’s as simple as giving them a say in how they perform their duties. Allowing them more opportunities to have input and control their work might be just the ticket.
Be brave – take a chance – ask your employees – “Why do you stay”?