If employee retention is a focus area for your organization, you may want to consider asking this question during the discussion phase when giving your next employee performance review:

“What would it take for you to leave?”

In fact, you may want to do it sooner.  You might be very surprised at the responses you hear. Many of your employees will not be able to think of a reason they would leave, which says a lot about your organization.  And those that do respond with reasons they would consider leaving your company provide valuable insight into how you can make improvements to retain your most valued employees.

Why wait until an exit interview to determine why an employee decided to leave? Engage your good performers when the opportunity presents itself and find out what might cause them to leave before they really do leave.

Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans surveyed more than 17,000 employees with various organizations for their book Love ‘em or Lose ‘em about reasons why employees stay with an organization. Below are the top 10 reasons from their survey:

    Exciting work and challenge
    Career growth, learning and development
    Working with great people
    Fair pay
    Supportive management/good boss
    Being recognized, valued and respected
    Benefits
    Meaningful work and making a difference
    Pride in the organization, its mission and its products
    Great work environment and culture

It’s often assumed that pay is the chief lure for an employee to jump ship.  However, that is clearly not the case.  Even if you’ve had to freeze salaries over the past couple of years, if you can provide your employees with challenging work, give them the opportunity to learn and grow, and have created a work environment of support and camaraderie, you have a very good chance of being able to retain your top performers.

But, of course, the best way to find out where you stand is by asking your employees directly.  Take some time to find out from your employees why they stay with your organization and, more importantly, why they might leave. If you have questions regarding employee retention, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.