Blog: The art of "Inquisitive Retention"

Employee Relations

The art of "Inquisitive Retention"

A talent manager can improve retention by helping an employee look at the decision though innovative lenses
The art of "Inquisitive Retention"

Think of a time when one of the top-talent employees puts down his papers. It is not uncommon to see the entire machinery get into action. Both HR and line quickly converge to find out ways and means to prevent this key loss. The supervisor assumes role of a trusted guardian and HR that of a counsellor.

The entire career trajectory and case history of the associate is drawn out to find out the probable triggers. Friends and colleagues of the employee are taken into confidence to know the actual story behind this development.

All possible modes are employed to make the employee believe that the credibility he has earned in the current organization will take him a long way. The subject is also reminded that he is an asset to the company and has a promising career ahead of him. Lot of times, the employers discloses their cards and talk about some of the future plans they have for him.

Multiple retention discussion rounds are organized at subsequent levels where different means are used to convince the employee that he is making a mistake and that this move is not in the interest of his professional career and personal life.

Whatever be the underlying reason for employee’s decision to move on; the employer puts up a brave face and leaves no stones unturned to revoke this decision of the employee.

Well there are clearly two distinct approaches to retention strategy:

  1. Project the best of the current employer and underscore the uncertainties & vulnerabilities of the new opportunity. In this approach there is a tendency to foreplay the emotional relationship and the confidence which the employee enjoys with the current employerin-order to force him to rethink his decision.
  2. Objectively probe into employee’s knowledge and understanding of the opportunity at handwhile drawing comparisons with the current proposition and accordingly help the employee take a calculated and well thought through decision.

The first approach is very common and is widely employed by different employers.

However, the second approach which basically leverages inquisitive statements to draw out insights and inferences on the job opportunity is less commonly used. It acts as a powerful reflection tool and forces the associate to deeply assess&re-evaluate his decision. In most of the cases, the employee will start faltering after few questions and will have to reach out to the prospective employer for additional information.

If this approach is properly used, the employee might consciously realise that his due diligence is not up-to mark and that he may be taking an uninformed decision. The facts and data points would speak for themselves and employee will be able to analyse if he is making a right move.

Depending on key reasons behind employee’s decision to quit and the organizational context, some of the suggestive questions that can be employed as part of the second retention strategy are:

  1. What is the business size you would be handling there?
  2. What would be the geographical span/ functional span you will be managing?
  3. How many people will be reporting into you?
  4. Who would you be reporting into?
  5. What is the company’s functional hierarchy and where do you stand?
  6. How old is the role that has been offered to you?
  7. What is the average experience of existing employees who are at your level?
  8. What is the average age of existing employees who are at your level?
  9. What would be the criteria for you to move to the next level?
  10. What percentage of people at next level are internal promotees?
  11. What have been average increment numbers that people in your role have received over last 2 years?
  12. What has been the attrition rate in last two years?
  13. How many people from your role have got promoted in last three years?
  14. How is the culture like? What are some of the organizational values?
  15. What is the market share of the company?
  16. How old is the company?
  17. What is the standing of the company in the industry?
  18. At what rate is the company growing?
  19. What is their customer base?
  20. What are the future plans of the organization?

This drill down exercise will bring forth some of the job aspects which employee has not thought through. It will clearly establish if he has tested the waters or not. It will also expose any degree of shallowness and assumptions on which the decision has been based.

The best part of employing this inquisitive approach is that it helps the employee in self-realising if he is making the right choice or not. Basis the insights and facts, the employee can clearly draw out objective comparisons vis-à-vis his current employment factors and apply his discretion.

This approach doesn’t guarantee that employee would change his mind and continue working with you but it will certainly help you as an employer to see through the logic employee’s decision and understand the bigger picture behind this move.

By ensuring that your talented employee doesn’t end up taking a wrong decision, you not only increase his trust and morale but you also come across as a caring employer with a genuine concern.

Good luck for your Retention Round!!

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Topics: Employee Relations

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