Should we ask employees about the last time they thought about leaving?

retention

Should we ask employees about the last time they thought about leaving?

It’s tempting to say “no”, that this will put leaving in their heads. The snappy comeback is to say, “If you talk with your teenagers about sex, is that the first time they’ve thought about it?”

We should expect most employees to think about leaving, either on their worst days or even medium days. The key solution piece is whether they will tell their manager why. And telling their manager why requires that they trust that manager.

Much research shines light on the importance of trusting one’s manager in order to stay longer and engage more. But a better illustration is to consider your relationships with your best boss and your worst boss. My bet is that you trusted your best boss and distrusted your worst boss…and that your best boss had shortcomings you easily accepted and your worst boss had strengths you couldn’t possibly see.

So let’s start a discussion about how we can help managers build trust and I’ll go first. Managers need to be very willing and able to apologize when they break trust…in order to build trust. And those apologies must be sincere and contain no excuses, as in “I did it, it was wrong, and I won’t do it again”.

Who else has an idea to help managers build trust?