Guest Blog – The Message Behind the Top-Selling Book

Guest Blog – The Message Behind the Top-Selling Book

With more than a little modesty, I can write here that I’ve authored the top-selling book in the history of SHRM. The modesty comes easy because the book wasn’t even my idea.

Chris Anzalone is the SHRM book publisher and doubles as my muse. Chris is now a friend and advisor, but back on a June night in PETCO Park in San Diego he was someone I had a few-times phone relationship with and no more. We were both there for the SHRM Annual Conference, circa 2011, and the HR executive at PETCO had handed me two tickets for that night’s baseball game. I’m a fan but that didn’t help me realize that PETCO Park got its name from a sponsor and that sponsor just handed me two tickets…two TERRIFIC tickets. I asked a few friends to go but all had commitments so I then turned to Chris who said he had a meeting but would cut out early. Good start.

By the seventh inning we had consumed about all that was there for the privileged people in PETCO Park. Food and drink flowed freely and we sat 30 feet behind the plate. I never knew that when you sit that close, home runs sound like rifle shots when they leave the bat. And five balls left the park that night.

But back to our story. I had written a book named Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Bad which Chris had co-published. He leaned over between pitches and recalling I had mentioned stay interviews in that book, he suggested I write a book specifically about stay interviews. I stammered and said something like, “Chris, I wrote a book to say I wrote a book. So I’ve written one book and that’s enough books. It takes way too much time and energy to write another book. So I’m not writing another book”.

Now here’s the muse part. Chris responded by saying this: “I’d like to meet the first person who said ‘Our engagement survey results are in. Our employees want more recognition. Let’s have a picnic and call it employee appreciation week and let’s have employee of the month so all other employees can be disappointed they didn’t win’”.

Chris went onto say that all companies were on the wrong track, that “solving” engagement and retention with HR-driven programs alone leaves the supervisors out of the solution…and too much data tells us they are the key drivers to how long employees stay and how hard they work. And that stay interviews would give them a method to learn one-on-one exactly what is important to their employees, individually.

Weeks later I relented and began writing The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention, which is now the top-selling SHRM-published book of all time. And now you can see why my modesty is real. I just did what Chris told me to do.

Dick Finnegan is the CEO of  C-Suite Analytics and the author of several top-selling books on employee engagement and retention. He welcomes your thoughts at More information is available at