Organizations are facing one of the most significant talent shortages since 2007. In fact, a ManpowerGroup report indicated that 40 percent of employers surveyed are having a difficult time filling positions.

With the talent landscape becoming increasingly challenging, many organizations are turning towards alternative and more direct forms of recruitment to find talent. In other words, they are coming after your top performers. 

Armed with a myriad of tools including new social recruitment strategies, competing companies can surround your employees with job opportunities 24/7. Whereas recruiters' calls can go ignored, it's only a matter of time before pictures on Instagram or LinkedIn posts pique your employee's interest and they start to explore. In fact, a Jobvite report found that 82 percent of employees say they are open to new opportunities.

What initially starts as an innocent conversation turns into something more serious, and before you know it, you receive an unexpected resignation. 

At that point, the chances that you convince the employee to stay are slim. Even if you're able to persuade them to accept a counteroffer, the rule of thumb among recruiters is that over 50 percent of those who accept end up leaving within six months. 

Instead, the best strategy to prevent your top performers from leaving is called a stay interview. 

A stay interview is a periodic meeting you conduct with your employees with the sole purpose being to uncover and understand what would make them stay with your organization. 

It's not rocket science. You schedule a 30-minute meeting, and you ask these five questions from Richard P. Finnegan's book, The Stay Interview: A Manager's Guide to Keeping the Best and Brightest. I've added my thoughts on the significance of each question. 

1. When you come to work each day, what things do you look forward to? 

The answer to this question will reveal the components and aspects of your employee's job that drive their engagement. As a manager, the information from this question provides you with tips and ideas on ways to fill your employee's day with work they enjoy doing -- rather than guessing. 

Increasing your employee's engagement is directly connected to their job satisfaction, role effectiveness, and commitment to the organization. 

2. What are you learning here? 

The most important thing is to ensure your employees are learning something. According to Deloitte, organizations with a strong learning and development culture see retention rates that are 30-50 percent higher than those who don't. 

If employees say they aren't learning anything, then make sure you ask them a follow-up question to see what skills they would like to develop. People are more reluctant to consider other opportunities when they are actively growing and progressing in their career.  

In a Bridge report, it found that offering career training and focusing on development would keep 86 percent of millennials from leaving their current position.

3. Why do you stay here? 

Nothing like cutting to the chase. Getting to the point and asking your employees why they stay is a great way to uncover the unique opportunities your team or organization offers that others don't. 

As employees reveal what's important to them, whether it's the culture, the people, or the work environment, they also realize what they're taking for granted. Many don't consider all of the tangible and intangible benefits their employers offer. Having employees articulate what's valuable to them makes it top-of-mind, which is beneficial for all. 

4. When was the last time you thought about leaving our team? What prompted it? 

I hate to break it to you, but occasionally, even the most engaged employees think about leaving. Everyone has bad days. When you ask your employees to articulate the details, you unmask what Finnegan refers to as their "leave triggers." 

The obvious benefit is prevention for those things within your control. Work to address the concern and coach the employee on ways to navigate the issue in the future. 

5. What can I do to make your experience at work better for you? 

Don't let employees gloss over this question. In my experience, people are typically caught off guard by this topic and as a result, provide vague and generalized answers. 

As a manager, make sure you ask probing questions to discover areas where you can support your employees--and, follow through. By doing this continually, you'll build trust and loyalty. 

According to Accounting Principles and Ajilon research, over half of respondents said the top reason keeping them from quitting their job is the loyalty they feel to their team, boss, coworkers or their company.

Don't wait. Once your employees decide to leave, it's too late. Implementing stay interviews is a quick, inexpensive strategy that can save your organization from unnecessary turnover. 

Published on: Aug 30, 2018