Why are so many people quitting their jobs? According to a recent McKinsey report, many employers think that it is a problem with compensation or work-life balance. But the employees who are quitting tell a different story. Their main reasons for quitting are 1) not feeling valued and 2) not feeling a sense of belonging.
If the past 24 months have taught us anything, it’s that employees crave investment in the human aspects of work. Employees are tired, and some are in fact grieving. They want a renewed and revised sense of purpose in their work. They want social and interpersonal connections with their colleagues and managers. They want to feel a sense of shared identity. Yes, they want pay, benefits, and perks, but more than that they want to feel valued by their organizations and managers. They want meaningful – though not necessarily in-person interactions, not just transactions.
In previous blogs we have expounded on the case for having regularly scheduled employee/manager 1:1’s. as a key ingredient for employee engagement. There are several documents in the TwoGreySuits Performance Management module dealing with how to do 1:1’s. For companies that aren’t doing structured 1:1’s a good start right now is to at least implement STAY interviews and for those companies already doing 1:1’s good idea to refresh these with conversations that are typically included in STAY interviews.
A STAY interview is essentially an employee engagement check-in that helps managers understand specifics on why employees have stayed at the organization and what has the potential to cause them to leave. What we are seeing now is that even previously satisfied employees may quit. Even these previously satisfied employees may start second-guessing their commitment to the companies where they now work as they see their employment options expanding around them, and particularly if executives mishandle the transition to a hybrid-work environment or worse, fail to offer one at all.
I have learned that some companies take exception to calling them STAY interviews because it indicates a transactional relationship vs. a high trust relationship. Employers and managers should think of STAY interviews as engagement discussions that supplement everyday interactions, survey feedback and individual motivation. So, is it appropriate to call them STAY interviews? The short answer is ‘it depends’. Organizations may choose to call them this but they may also alternatively work to ensure the right/important things are being discussed and the right questions are being asked in regular 1:1’s in regards to possible reasons an employee might not stay. The idea is to get at this important information in an effort to try and address employee expectations where you may not have invested any efforts before.
Your most important assets are walking out the door every day – how do you ensure they will stay?
Global research is very conclusive – at the very heart of employee engagement drivers is the quality and depth of the relationship with the manager and the employee. Manager’s people management skills are the most powerful factor in employee motivation, morale – and ultimately their own decision to stay or leave. When these relationships are strong, the manager really understands the employee more than a typical employee-manager relationship. As an example they will really know considerably more about their employees, especially their goals, their stressors, what excites them and how they define success; they’ll be able to identify what is meaningful to their direct report employees.
Knowing your employee’s spouses name or their children’s ages is not enough, you need to understand your employees, know their dreams, disappointments, goals, motivators, fears, and the activities that build or drain their energy. These relationships take time but can be nurtured along by empathy, being available, careful listening and action on part of the manager.
Effective management and leadership require that you understand your employee’s perspectives & their hopes and dreams and that you present them with challenges that leads them in the direction they want to be moving anyways.
Let’s look at this simple example; an employee who is now quite experienced as a work from home worker may have a strong want (even need) to be able to work from home for the summer at their cottage when most workers are back at the office on some regularity. They may not even ask for this. Pre-pandemic, this ask would have been seen in a very different light as it is now. Taking this example further; managers can be pro-active and offer up some of these ideas where the employee may think it is off the table to even discuss. In other words present your employees with work arrangements in this case that you know will help them in other areas of their life. You may know that this employee typically drives 5 hours round trip to their cottage on weekends and also that July and August are when they prefer to spend the most time there. You may also know they are spending some final moments with an elderly loved one at the cottage or a terminally ill peson, etc. By you offering this, you are showing empathy/understanding/respect by offering considerable time and expense savings for the employee perhaps in a time of need also. You are also showing empathy and that you genuinely care about the employee. Now, of course all the proper work from home protocols needs to be in place and more importantly, well understood, but the point is – understand your employee needs and wants and then present them with opportunities that align with their needs/wants at and away from work.
What do we talk about in these STAY interviews? What are the specific strategies a company should consider when doing STAY interviews? Two new documents have been loaded to the www.twogreysuits.com website to help you immediately with this. The new documents are titled:
- Best Questions to ask in a STAY Interview
- Considerations for Doing Effective STAY Interviews
When you see talented, engaged, trained employees walk out the door for a different employer, you should be concerned, especially if it is a competitor they are going to. Now, when you see several employees leaving for the same competitor… RED FLAG, you are being exposed as a recruiting ground and your competitor likely has something significantly better to offer your employees than you do. (and word will spread fast, trust me)
Trying to hire good employees in these times with the announced reopening of offices and the confusion around employee wants/rights to keep working from home, many companies are already feeling or are going to be feeling the full force of high turnover and all that entails.
Research has historically suggested that the true cost of turnover is anywhere from 1.5-2.5 x the annual salary of the person leaving in hard and soft costs. As an example; lost productivity, training time, advertising costs, recruitment fees, HR time, hiring manager time, signing bonuses, employee morale, etc.
Companies that have experienced some hurt with unwanted employee turnover already realize the value in trying to prevent these resignations from happening in the first place. Stateside they are calling it “The Great Resignation” and by all accounts the numbers now are staggering. Recent research seems to indicate as many as 65-70% of employees are seeking a new job. Even if just half of these numbers are real, huge cause for concern.
You can get out in front of this wave by purposefully being proactive with STAY interviews and by using the information/documents provided for TwoGreySuits members.
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TwoGreySuits is a leading-edge provider of on-line human resource management information, processes, tools and forms servicing the global market. We have integrated the HR practices associated with the key drivers of Employee Engagement within the well-organized information on the website.
Our website is built on the premise that if you truly see the value and want to manage people professionally, using our tools and information, you will see increased employee engagement levels over time, a win for everyone!