Can we talk?

two week noticeDo any of these statements from a direct report strike fear into your heart?

  • I quit.
  • I accepted another opportunity.
  • I’m leaving for a new job.
  • Can we talk?

When they come from a solid performer, it can turn your work world upside down. Several years ago, I heard these words from a valued employee. He left for another opportunity which would position him for greater growth.  I was happy to support his career growth and movement; at the same time, I was terrified at the prospect of recruiting a replacement for someone who had become so beloved in our organization. It took a full year to get back up to speed from that transition.

While not all employee turnover is preventable,  managers can develop effective strategies to increase retention. According to engagement expert Beverly Kaye, keeping good people is something that all leaders can get good at. In her book, Love ‘em or Lose ‘em, Kaye outlines 26 practical engagement strategies that leaders can use. My favorite and one that I use frequently is the Stay Interview. She makes the point that most leaders do a good job with exit interviews, but don’t put enough effort into discussions that uncover what motivates an individual employee and makes them stay.

Here are a few Stay Interview questions that Kaye shares in her book:

  • What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
  • What makes you hit the snooze button?
  • If you were to win the lottery and resign, what would you miss the most?
  • What would be the one thing that, if it changed in your current role, would make you consider moving on?
  • If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about this department?
  • If you had to go back to a position in your past and stay for an extended period of time, which one would it be and why?

Kaye encourages leaders to use these questions as a catalyst for their thinking. I encourage you to start using these questions or others that you create with your solid performers and your best talent. Ask them….then listen carefully and craft your retention strategies to each individual.

What questions would you add to the Stay Interview? What have you done to keep good people?

Anita Rios


One response to “Can we talk?

  1. The Stay Interview is an interesting concept I hadn’t heard of before coming across your blog. I’m a former higher education professional who has transitioned into the traditional business world. One item I’ve struggled with is teaching those I manage how to self-motivate. Perhaps this is just the ticket.


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