Engagement

Exit Interviews: 6 Questions to Gain the Utmost Value From Lost Talent

Peace-Out

I help talent leave. For many of them, change is hard. It inconveniences them, disrupts their rhythms, and makes them feel very uncomfortable and uncertain, even if it excites them at the same time. By the time people come to me to help them, they are usually in pain. Sometimes it’s even physical.

Most people will try everything else before they actually follow through with any plans to leave, unless they are getting tapped by recruiters who wave more money and better conditions and growth opportunities at them.

Resignation – a great word that describes both the state of mind of people who decide that there are few to no options left, and the act of leaving a job itself.

According to CultureAmp data, the top reasons talent leaves a company are lack of growth opportunities, poor leadership, and poor managers, in that order. Sometimes the managers or leaders get blamed for a poor or non-existent talent development system.

There is more loss to talent resignation than just losing a single person, their skill, their intelligence, and their experience. I speak about that here. The bleeding can be profuse.

The best way to control the bleeding, if you can’t stop it, is to conduct, or have a 3rd party conduct, exit interviews.

I asked the Quora community what they would tell their former boss if they could be sure there would be no negative consequences. One person answered and another upvoted that they wouldn’t burn a bridge by giving them negative feedback. Yes, the question was specific about their being no negative consequences, but it just goes to show that some people will still fear consequences, even if you tell them there are none. For this reason, you may want to engage a firm like Epic Careering to procure more truthful feedback.

If you want to keep the feedback coming and truly prevent future losses of talent, don’t punish employees and former employees with negative references or diminished separation packages. In fact, go the other direction.

Offer any separated talent an incentive to provide comprehensive feedback via an exit interview. A moral incentive is that their leaving is not in vein and it will serve the people they have to leave behind. Many of my clients’ driving reason for staying in a job so long is because of the people they feel they may now screw over by leaving.

A monetary incentive may be more effective, but you have to make sure people don’t feel paid off for a positive review. It may even be better for the monetary incentive to come from the 3rd party in the way of a $100 gift card, much the way surveys and studies do it.

If you decide to conduct your own, even if through your company’s human resources department, here are primary questions to ask:

  1. What could the company or your manager have done differently to prevent you from wanting to leave?
  2. Did you confront your manager about your reasons for wanting to leave prior to making the decision, and, if not, why not?
  3. What do you think the company and its leaders can do to make X a better company to work for?
  4. Would you refer a friend or family member to this company as either a customer or employee? If so, why, and if not, why not?
  5. Is there anyone you would like to recommend to fill your position? Please provide their name, contact information and why you feel they would be a good fit.
  6. What was the best part of working for this company?

Exit interviews aren’t the only way to uncover why the company is losing talent so that an effective solution can be identified. Glassdoor is another way, but by the time the information is out there, it’s for the whole world to see.

If someone really feels strongly about their experience, good or bad this may or may not prevent them from going straight to Glassdoor with their rating. However, giving them this outlet may prevent those who would use Glassdoor simply to help leaders learn a lesson for the sake of all who remain and all who may consider employment.

If you don’t currently have a way for employees to share their feedback while still on the job, you are probably guessing how to keep your employees. Some companies guess wrong and think that benefits are going to keep employees around.

This is what we refer to as “golden handcuffs.” They may keep employees around longer than they would, but they don’t keep employees engaged. Engagement surveys can help you assess this, but not all are created equally, and still, if they are conducted internally, as I share in the video I mentioned above, the honesty a company needs to prevent future losses of talent can be muted. Delegate to a 3rd party firm like Epic Careering.

Pet Shop Boys – What have I done to deserve this?

Lyrics You always wanted a lover I only wanted a job I’ve always worked for my living How’m I gonna get through? How’m I gonna get through? I come here looking for money (Got to have it) and end up leaving with love Now you’ve left me with nothing (Can’t take it) How’m I gonna get through?

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business, will be an Associate Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department in 2019,  and is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where her students won the 2018 national competition and were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs.

Engaging The Ones Who Didn’t Get The Promotion

Reverse Engineering Internal Sabotage for Prevention [Part 2 of 3]

How can you choose the right person for promotion, but still make sure that those who didn’t receive a promotion stay engaged and working in the company‘s best interests?

There are three branches to this answer:

#1 – Make sure that the decision to promote someone was based on criteria that everyone would consider fair. You learned last week that the perception that a company or person has been unfair is what can trigger altruistic punishment.

#2 – Keep the talent engaged in alternative possibilities for growth.

#3 – Be mindful of the place from which you communicate.

So let’s just take a look at a fair process, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you already know that bias has no place in selecting talent.

It can be stressful to be the one who has to choose between highly qualified and valuable talents for a promotion. Ultimately, two factors have to be taken into consideration – A) Is this talent going to perform the best in this role, and in order for A to be a yes, you have to also consider B) Is this position the best next step in this talent’s career.

This implies that a manager would have to be familiar with the career aspirations of his or her team members. As a best practice, this would be part of the annual review process. Unfortunately, if a company has minimal resources and growth is at a critical point, the prospect of exploring potential future opportunities within an organization with the talent seems like an exercise in imagination, so it will be avoided until performance, profit, and plans can accommodate growth. Seems logical, but it neglects to address the driving force of engagement among top talent – growth.

Referring back to my post on the success science of optimism, it’s not only okay to operate with optimism, it’s critical to success. While the nature of business does require planning for contingencies, the more you operate within the realm of optimism, the more motivated, engaged, and productive talent will be. It doesn’t require a lot of time to talk about your talents’ aspirations, but it does require trust. Sometimes, having a third party (like Epic Careering) come in for career development is necessary. People may fear for their job security if they suspect their aspirations will be a reason to be overlooked for positions, or even worse, let go. No one likes being put in a box, and sometimes the best opportunities are the ones that don’t look as expected. This is another reason why many companies neglect to incorporate professional development into their talent management practices, or why the focus is always on potentially limited growth opportunities within the company. When the process policies are based more on fear than on the best interests of the talent, fears become reality and top talent leaves for greater growth opportunities anyway.

Whether the manager or a 3rd party go through this process, give talent reasons to believe that opportunities will exist in alignment with their aspirations. Then, follow through. Work strategically among other leaders in the organization to bridge the present conditions with future aspirations. Even if it’s giving the employee an opportunity to attend a conference outside the industry, and then assigning them to come back with 1-3 ideas that could be applicable to the business. This also implies that they already know where the business is going.

This brings us to #2. When telling an employee that he or she was not selected for a promotion, keep focusing on the path ahead. Connecting the dots between where employees are and where they want to be can be challenging from within the organization. Again, a third party (like Epic Careering) may be able to propose ideas based on greater depth with the client and high-level perspective on the business/industry. Often the stretch an organization makes to make growth opportunities available for its talent is what opens up a new competitive edge. Engage employees in future possibilities. Like R&D, some things may not pan out, but your commitment to finding a way to best leverage their talents and aspirations will earn trust, engagement, and loyalty.

Don’t make it all about the company, but do share how particular skills (hard or soft) or experiences were perceived as integral for moving the company forward. Stick to explaining the assets you and other stakeholders weighed. Make sure the employee knows the reasons he or she was being considered in the first place.

#3 – Frank feedback is very tricky business.

Before you sit down with an employee that was not granted a promotion, check where your communication is coming from. Communication was my major in college, and that included learning broadcasting, journalism, public speaking, and advertising, but it also included interpersonal communication. It seems like this would be something you pick up during the course of your life, but consider all that can go wrong in communication. Yes, I learned a lot about communication, but I had the most breakthroughs in communication in my own life in Landmark Education’s Communication Curriculum. The most significant revelation that had the most impact in my life was when I realized that what we can control in communication is the most critical part of sending communications that land – the emotions behind them.

Take a few moments to be centered and mindful. Notice and let go of any feelings of pity, regret, defensiveness, judgments of the person’s mistakes or shortcomings, and fears. Visualize delivering the messages in the highest interests of the employee. Be intentional for the overall experience. What impression do you want the person to walk away from the meeting with?

When you intentionally choose the emotion from which you communicate, you naturally choose words in alignment with that emotion. Effective communication is so much more about where you are coming from when you communicate rather than what you say. Epic Careering offers training in this, and it’s transformative for individuals and organizations. It’s not something that comes naturally. Naturally, we have emotions, and we react in accordance with them. In fast-paced environments, this is the M.O. Thankfully, the techniques for achieving consciousness in communication take only a few minutes and eliminate hardships that stifle progress and innovation.

Of course, everything advised above is focused on keeping the talent you didn’t promote engaged so that the company doesn’t suffer from sabotage, at worst, but also losses in productivity or talent. Consider applying #3 to external candidates who didn’t get the job, as well. You may not have wanted them for this role, and you have decided they’re not even a fit for your culture at all. However, if you see them a potential new node in your network who may refer talent, resources, clients/customers, etc. you expand your employer brand visibility by that person’s network.

I wish I had completed the Landmark Communication curriculum while I was a recruiter. I was very well-intentioned in giving feedback to candidates but found that at times, it induced a defensive reaction. Though most people received feedback very well, the people who didn’t discouraged me from making it a practice. I wish I had known how to communicate more consciously then. It might not have made the difference in all circumstances, but I know it would have made a difference for many of the candidates I intended to help, and maybe they would have been clients.

Just as Brené Brown says that we won’t do empathy perfectly, there’s hardly a thing as perfect communication. There certainly is optimal communication, however.

Fairness in process and consciousness in communication are the best preventions for sabotage, but also the best conductors of highly engaged talent.

CANDLEBOX – “Far Behind” (official video)

New album DISAPPEARING IN AIRPORTS out April 22, 2016 Pre-Order now @Itunes ► http://apple.co/204LvqO @Amazon ► http://amzn.to/1Q9pzWm @Pledge http://bit.ly/1Pb152u Video created by Rob Neilson ( http://www.WiredWebDev.com ) Tour Dates ► http://www.CandleboxRocks.com/ Official Store ►http://bit.ly/1PLirPM Website ► http://www.CandleboxRocks.com/ Facebook ►http://www.facebook.com/candlebox Twitter ► http://www.twitter.com/candlebox Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/candlebox_official Official YouTube ►https://www.youtube.com/user/CBoxRockers Management ►https://www.PrimaryWave.com

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.