4 Questions for Managers to Improve Employee Retention

Employee Retention Comes Down to What Your Managers Say to their People

Depressed companies lose money.

Of course, they also lose employees.

No matter the knowledge, experience, and skill of your management, they need to be able to speak and speak well with everyone on your team.

Just like depressed people, depressed companies don’t have that conversation going. That conversation is continually engaging, caring, involved and interested.

These four questions are intended to start that conversation and to keep it going. Your managers need to be not only skilled at asking them, but also interested in the responses. They need to want to hear the answers, to consider them carefully and be able to respond.

It’s as simple as this; You can’t expect employees to be engaged with a company (or a boss) who doesn’t listen, doesn’t care, doesn’t engage.

So asking – and then listening – is the number one factor for improving engagement and improving employee retention.

Let’s go…

1. What do you need?

What else can I get you? What would make you feel like you’re able to do better?

The answer doesn’t have to be expensive, or to require a further investment. Some office managers are ready with the Viking Catalog, but office supplies aren’t really the point.

2. Where do you want to go?

Today? This week? In your career?

Now you may not need to ask this question every day. But with every employee or team member, the question(s) need to be asked – and replied to regularly. Even if you’re listening to what sound like wild dreams, taking the answers seriously and seriously doing what you can to get employees to where they want to go is ALWAYS in your organization’s best interest. Those employees already are better engaged, and less likely to walk out the door.

3. What would make you proud enough to tell people where you work?

This one often takes employees a little longer to answer. Sending the question by email and waiting for a response later is often a good policy. You can expect employees to put some careful thought into answering. You can also expect to learn a lot. So, send an email then speak thoughtfully with each team member in a conference. Write down their answers so they know you’re listening. Good management presents the results of this kind of survey on up the ladder.

You can also modify this question to address broader – or more narrow – areas of concern. “What would make your proud of this department?” and etc.

4. If you could change something today, what would it be?

Now, lastly, lots and lots of team members don’t want to critique management. The risk for them is simply too great.

That could be OK. But if things are really out of line, then you’re going into a depression state where employees are thinking but unable to act on those thoughts.

This question is an information boon for management, and for Continuous Improvement. You may not get an answer every time you ask, but when you do, be ready.

Maybe obviously, we concentrate in this kind of article on industries that really do suffer from employee retention issues. Namely, call centers and nursing facilities (of every kind). But these kinds of issues plague far more industries than that. In fact, that’s why we’re not mentioning any more specifics – there are simply too many types of businesses plagued by Human Resources based issues that can – and should – be asking and answering these kinds of questions – regularly.

Remember – if you’re sending out regular email, like your weekly scheduling emails, there’s no better time to be asking questions. Just make sure you are working with management to prepare to answer thoughtfully.

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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