What you ask and how you respond during a stay interview will determine the outcome of this important interaction.
Charlie set up a meeting with his plant manager, Ken, for Monday morning. After some brief conversation about the weekend activities, Charlie said, “Ken, you are critical to me and to this organization. I’m not sure I’ve told you that directly or often enough. But you are. I can’t imagine losing you. So, I’d like to know what will keep you here. And what might entice you away?”
Ken was a bit taken aback—but felt flattered. He thought for a moment and then said, “You know, I aspire to move up in the organization at some point, and I’d love to have some exposure to the senior team. I’d like to see how they operate—and frankly I’d like them to get to know me too.” Charlie responded, “I could take you with me to some senior staff meetings. Would that be a start?” Ken said, “That would be great.”
Charlie delivered on Ken’s request one week later.
What if you can’t give them what they want?
Many managers don’t ask because they fear one of two responses: a request for a raise or a promotion. They might not be able to deliver on those kinds of requests. Then what?
Next time one of your talented employees asks for something you think you might not be able to give (e.g. money), respond by using these four steps:
- Restate how much you value them. “You are worth that and more to me.”
- Tell the truth about the obstacles you face in granting their requests. “I’d love to say yes, but I will need to investigate the possibility. I’m honestly not sure what I can do immediately, given some recent budget cuts.”
- Show you care enough to look into their requests and to stand up for them. “I hear your request. I’ll run this up the flag pole and get back to you by next Friday with some answers and a possible time line for a raise.”
- Ask, “What else?” “Meanwhile, Ken, what else matters to you? What else are you hoping for?”
Research shows clearly that people want more from work than just a pay check. When you ask the question “What else?” we guarantee there will be at least one thing your talented employee wants that you can give. Remember to listen actively as your employees talk about what will keep them on your team or in your organization.
Beyond, “What will you keep you?” here are some favourite stay interview questions managers have asked:
- 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 about your job?
- If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about this department, team, and organization?
- As your manager, what could I do a little more of or a little less of?
- What can we do to support your career goals?
- What do you want to learn this year?
Remember — it doesn’t matter so much where, when, or how you ask—just ASK!
“Remember to listen actively as your employees talk about what will keep them on your team or in your organization.”
This article was written by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans.