Employers! Retain the Crème De La Crème

by Nancy Needhima on Feb 7 2012 9:56 PM

Employers! Retain the Crème De La Crème
While the economy is recovering, most employees will most likely look for better opportunities outside their firms, warn experts.
This critical situation demands employers to hold on to their top performers.

According to Joyce E. A. Russell, director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, most firms have depended on exit interviews to learn why their employees decide to leave as they seek acquiring honest information about the company that can be used to tackle the reasons why some leave.

But to do this, employers need to ask the right questions, the Washington Post reported.

Mostly, exit interviews are poorly conducted by ill-trained individuals who are not really aware about why or how should they use the information they collect.

Or, employees do not divulge the real reasons they are leaving the firm, as they are scared of burning bridges.

However, Russell has suggested that all firms including the smaller ones should make it a point to meet with employees before they give voluntary resignation.

Russell suggested that while conducting an exit interview, the interviewer must ensure that the information is treated confidentially (i.e., using the date in aggregate form only and not revealing who made what comments).

Interviewers are required to be well trained in active listening and be sure not to go over the top to any venting done by the employee.

Using structured questions, interviewers can enquire about topics like the work itself, pay and benefits, training and mentoring, performance reviews, career growth opportunities, management issues and the culture and environment.

Or they can make the employees complete a survey and mail it in after they have left.

Using an outside person can also be efficient in providing a neutral party that an employee may feel more comfortable openly talking with.

Although exit interviews can give way to valuable information, they only offer a partial picture of how employees feel.

At a recent Society for Human Resource Management conference, presenter Dick Finnegan talked about using "stay interviews" to gather insights.

He asserted that exit interviews are "autopsies that seldom lead to improvements."

Instead with stay interviews, managers allow employees to know they want them to stick around, and ask them what they can do to keep them at the firm.

This sends a powerful signal to current employees that the employer values them and wants to meet their needs.

Another idea for keeping hold of top talent is for the company to reward its managers for holding onto their stars. This would persuade them to be more proactive about gathering feedback to find out how their employees feel about working at the firm.