Keep your good people

love em“The buck stops here!”
– Harry S. Truman (33rd United States President)

In her bestselling book on employee retention Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, Beverly Kaye quotes Harry Truman when helping leaders understand their critical role in getting good people to stay on their teams. The buck really does stop with us as leaders to understand employee’s strengths and aspirations and what motivates and even inspires them to work on our team. Turning those insights into action is what really helps keep our good people.

But how can you discover what motivates each person who reports to you?  Well, in a word: ASK!

Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em is peppered with useful questions that will jump start any one-on-one conversation you can have with employees. Here is an example from Kaye’s book:

  • What will keep you here?
  • What might entice you away?
  • What is most energizing about your work?
  • Are we fully utilizing your talents?
  • What is inhibiting your success?
  • What can I do differently to best assist you?

I’ve used many questions like this in my one-on-one meetings with direct reports, and I’ve found that I always learn something to help in my efforts to develop, support, and keep good people. It certainly contributes to building an effective team.

What have you found works well to retain your good people?

Anita Rios


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