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An UNcommon Sense Employee Retention and Engagement Strategy: Just Ask.

Posted on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 @ 09:07 AM

Human Resource Management Comic“Employee retention and engagement is important to us. We want to know what makes you stay with the company? Is there anything that would entice you to leave our company?”

Have you ever been bold enough to ask your all-star (or even your marginally-performing) employees these two questions? If you haven’t, we can probably guess what you’d say if we asked you why?

  • I didn’t want to put her on the spot; I didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable.
  • I don’t want him to quit; I didn’t want to put the idea of leaving into his head either.
  • She is always upbeat and consistently produces great work; I didn’t think I needed to ask.

(Don’t Just) Show Me the Money
Monetary rewards or bonuses are nice. Have you ever heard of an employee so unabashedly red-cheeked and modest to turn down a raise? Honestly, have you ever had an employee say, “You know, I think I’m actually making too much money?” These are rhetorical questions, of course.  

The point is, sure, cash will please them; it may even help boost short-term employee retention and engagement, but it won’t provide you with insight about what makes your rock-star (or low-performing) employee “tick.” If you’re doing something right, you want to know about it, right? And if you’re doing something wrong, you should still want to know—even if it hurts. How else are you going to fix it?

The next steps to boost employee retention and engagement
Here’s a simple plan. Type up an email that says something like this:

So and so:
You make a difference to our department and I appreciate your contributions. I’d like to find 15-20 minutes on such and such day to have an informal conversation about some of these questions I’ve listen below.

  • Employee retention and engagement is important to me, so I want to know what makes you stay with the company?
  • Is there anything that would entice you to leave our company?
  • Am I making good use of all of your talents?
  • How might I help you succeed better?
  • Is there anything I could be doing to help you accomplish these things?

Sending an email a few days before the informal chat will give your employee time to reflect and fully digest the questions. These are not questions either of you should shy away from. More often than not, you’ll find that warm gestures like this (rather than detached cash bonuses) will not only show your employees that you care about them, it will also help boost employee retention and engagement.

This blog has been adapted from Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans’ book, Love 'Em Or Lose 'Em: Getting Good People to Stay

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Topics: Certificate in HR Management, Graduate Programs for Human Resources, Human Resource Management, Human Resources Master Programs, Online Courses for Human Resources Management, Engaging Employees, career success, Positive Work Environment

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