Conduct Entrance (Not Exit)
by Merrick Rosenberg, MBA
The Saratoga Institute recently
reported that 85% of people are dissatisfied enough to change jobs in the
next year. Is it just me, or wouldn’t it be better to ask people what you
need to do to keep them working for your organization, rather than ask them
why they no longer want to work for you? It seems intuitively clear that if
managers proactively and regularly identify what makes people unhappy in the
workplace, there would be a lot fewer exit interviews to be conducted.
As Jim Collins said in his book Good to Great:
Spending time and energy to
motivate people is a waste of time. The real question is not, How do
we motivate our people? If you have the right people they will be
self-motivated. The key is to not de-motivate them.
So, lets flip exit interviews
around and start asking questions that remove the de-motivators so that
people are self-motivated, engaged and satisfied in your organization. Well
call these coaching sessions, entrance interviews, representing what keeps
them coming back to your organization day after day, rather than exit
interviews after they leave.
Retention & Turnover
When conducting entrance interviews, its important to understand why people
stay at, as well as why they leave organizations. This knowledge can guide
the questions that managers ask their staff. A study by Career Systems
International found that people reported that they remain in the
organizations for the following reasons:
growth & development
with great people
recognized, valued & respected
work/making a difference
So why do people leave? Over and
over, studies reveal that people quit their manager, not their company.
Lets examine a few examples:
The Saratoga Institute found
that 39%, the number #1 answer as to why people leave, was related to
Supervisory Factors that include areas such as: Lack of respect by
supervisor, lack of leadership skills by supervisor, favoritism, lack of
recognition, and supervisors incompetence.
Robert Half International
found that limited recognition and praise was cited as the most common
reason for why employees left their companies.
Gallup found that the #1
reason that people leave organizations is that they dont know whats
expected of them.
While answers may vary
depending upon the study, everything points back to the manager.
The Entrance Interview
Armed with the knowledge of what motivates people to stay in organizations,
managers can ask meaningful questions, such as:
Do you find your work to be
exciting and challenging?
Do you feel that you are on
a path that will allow you to meet your career goals?
How can I support you
Do you feel like the
organization values your contributions?
Do you feel like you are
making a difference here?
Managers can also ask
questions that are designed to gauge the individuals satisfaction with
the organization and likelihood to leave.
If there was one thing that
would drive you to leave the organization, what would it be?
Is there one thing that I
could change to make this a better environment for you, what would it
If you were king for a day,
what would you change in this organization?
What do you want to see more
(and less) of in this organization?
There should be very few
surprises about who leaves the organization and why. If managers speak
with their people on a regular basis, there wont be.
Conducting entrance interviews not only helps managers to identify
de-motivators, but also these meetings give managers an opportunity to
demonstrate that they care about their people. Leigh Branham in her book,
The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave, noted that 80% of employees who had
been coached by their managers felt a strong sense of commitment to their
organization versus 46% of employees who received no coaching. When managers
demonstrate that they care about the personal growth and success of their
staff, these individuals are far more likely to stay in the organization.
And yet given all of this evidence, few managers ask questions like the ones
listed above on a regular basis. Rather, all too often, Human Resource
representatives ask these questions on their last day of employment
its too late.
Managers who ask the right questions on a regular basis will find they have
developed a committed workforce.
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