The Power of Employees Who Stay

Many HR teams are challenged with turnover rates and retaining top-level workers. Losing a mid-level employee costs a company 20% of that individual’s salary, and the loss of high-level executive costs the company 213% of an individual’s salary, according to a study by the Center for American Progress. So, how can you design a workplace where your employees want to stay long-term?

Adam Grant, the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at Wharton and an expert on workforce dynamics, suggests treating your team as people, not just employees. Fuel your employee’s values through respect, support and purpose to deliver a long-term experience that strengthens the desire to stay.

At Aduro, we believe the most important job that leaders and managers have is to coach and mentor their teams. In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, emotional intelligence and agility and a high level of resilience are the cornerstone of great leadership. This means that leaders need to be great listeners and facilitators of other people’s thinking, be able to read and understand others, and shift their communication and management style based on the unique individual sitting in front of them. In other words, they need to be great coaches. Each leader at Aduro goes through training and development in deepening their own emotional intelligence, understanding themselves and others, and tapping into each person’s intrinsic motivation.

Do you want to truly connect with your team? Here are three ways you can get started:

1. One-on-one Weekly Meetings

The most effective one-on-one meetings take place when the employee leads the agenda. Weekly meetings are a great opportunity for them to discuss items that don’t fit neatly into status reports or less personal modes of communication. Give your employees the space to talk about their frustrations, brilliant ideas, or whatever else is on their mind.

Facilitate a 2-way conversation that creates opportunity to connect and understand their current state of well-being and things that might be getting in the way of their success. Ask what is important to them, what makes them feel energized to come to work? Maybe they want to be home by 5:00 p.m. to have dinner with their kids. Maybe their hobby is photography and they would love to take photos at the company picnic. Or, maybe they’re a student trying to develop their career and just need a little advice on what to do next. Everyone has a different set of values and interests that motivate them.

2. Stay Interviews

Companies do extensive interviewing when they hire and conduct exit interviews to try to understand why people leave. But, how do you understand what is important to your employees throughout their employment? One way is to implement stay interviews, one to two times a year. The stay interview creates an opportunity to build trust with each employee and create an environment where they feel understood and valued. Help define their sense of purpose at work by understanding their goals, showing appreciation, and celebrating their accomplishments.

Prepare by reviewing the conversations from your one-on-one time. How can you then, with the knowledge and resources available, help employees achieve what they have expressed matters to them? Maybe you can connect them with a colleague to learn a new skill. Maybe you can recommend a book they can read or a conference they should attend. When employees feel personal and professional growth in the workplace, their intrinsic motivation sets in and their productivity soars.

More companies are using stay interviews as a part of their HR strategy. According to Human Resource Executive Online, 27% of respondents said their organizations already conduct stay interviews, while another 24% said their companies plan to start doing so in the near future.

3. Quick Polls

Help spark conversation and get a wider range of feedback across your organization. Send out a weekly question to all staff, such as: How happy are you at work? Does your executive team contribute to a positive company culture? How well do you feel you are fulfilling your role? Make sure employee responses are anonymous so they can feel comfortable and leadership can receive honest answers.

Throughout all of the communications, the emotional tone of the leader tends to set the tone of the meeting. It happens whenever people interact, regardless of whether we’re with one person, in a group, or in an organization (Goleman). Companies must also dedicate time to develop their leaders with skills such as self-awareness, emotional intelligence and communication to set them up for success as managers.

When strong communication happens between managers and teams – it helps builds trust, creates the space for honest, open communication and develops a sense of purpose in the workplace. This is what helps keep your team around for the long haul.

If you want to help your employees find meaning at work, we encourage you to read our 5-minute webinar recap with Dr. Laura Hamill and Dr. Toni Best about how to maximize intrinsic motivation and well-being in the workplace.