Today’s Time Well Spent cartoon from our friends at Kronos reminds me of a personal story. I went to work for a hotel company that was facing some challenges in the human resources department. I was hired to turn that situation around. The person who hired me said, if I did that, he would support me transferring to any hotel I wanted.
I accomplished my goal. Unfortunately, he left before I was able to transfer. I got a new boss and he was very nice. In fact, he promoted me. But the day that I walked in to tender my resignation, he said to me, “I had such plans for you.” Plans?! I knew nothings of these “plans”. They were never communicated to me. It takes good communication to understand what employees are thinking and feeling. Stay interviews could have been the solution.
Giving an employee a promotion or pay increase doesn’t guarantee they will stay. While I was happy to receive the promotion and pay increase, it wasn’t enough to keep me there. My guess is you have people in the same situation within your organization. Managers need to understand what motivates their employees. It might be very different from what motivates the manager.
Use stay interviews to find out what employees love about their work. There are always components of our jobs that we don’t like. And many employees don’t hesitate to tell us so. But as managers, do you know what employees love? It’s these things that managers want to make sure don’t change. Managers can ask employees during one-on-one meetings what they like about their role and the projects they’re working on.
If you can’t give employees what they want, support their decisions. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, employees are not going to be satisfied with their current work situation. And we aren’t in a position to change that. When those situations occur, instead of getting mad or frustrated, let the employee know that whatever decisions they make – in terms of staying with the company – they will be supported. Maybe at some point in the future, the employee will want to return.
Figuring out who the flight risks are in your organization doesn’t have to be hard. It does take regular, open communication. Stay interviews can help. Employees need to feel that they trust the organization enough to share what they’re thinking about when it comes to their job.17