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relieved of some of the loads they are bearing”doing the work of two or
three people in addition to managing their direct reports. Too many man-
agers are simply too busy managing budgets and ˜˜getting things done™™ to
spend quality time with their employees.
Finally, many managers have to start taking more responsibility for their
role in engaging or disengaging employees. They need to understand that
pay is not the reason most employees leave, and accept that their way of
managing is the number one reason. For many, that means stop blaming
senior leaders for not paying more (when low pay is not the culprit), and
stop depending on human resources to do all the recruiting and recogniz-
ing. In short, managers need to own all four phases of the talent manage-
ment cycle: attract, select, engage, and sustain engagement.
As for employees, they may need to be reminded that no manager has as
much power to engage them as they do to engage themselves. Even so,
senior leaders in many companies now survey employees to track the per-
centage that are engaged versus disengaged, then challenge department
managers to do whatever it takes to better engage their people and improve
their scores in the next survey. While this does engender accountability for
managing people with skill and emotional intelligence, there is a potential

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It is simply this: The responsibility for being engaged does not just fall
on the shoulders of the manager”it is the employee™s responsibility as well.
One manager asked, ˜˜What about the employees? They shouldn™t just be
waiting around for the manager to engage them. Why don™t we just score
employees on how well they are keeping themselves engaged?!™™
By overemphasizing the manager™s role in engaging employees, organi-
zations risk creating an environment where employees may become pas-
sive, expecting all motivation and incentive to come from external sources.
It is easy enough for many employees to fall into a victim mentality and
assume an attitude of entitlement, especially when organizations habitually
fail to seek active employee input and put off confronting poor performers.
Maintaining the ¬ne balance between engagement and entitlement is a
shared partnership between company leaders and employees. The need for
both parties to meet each other halfway in the process makes it all the more
important for organizations to spell out exactly how they expect employees
to keep themselves engaged, as well as how managers should work to en-
gage their employees.

1. McKinsey Survey of 7,300 North American Executives, February
2. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, First Break All the Rules: What
the World™s Great Managers Do Differently (New York: Simon and Schus-
ter, 1999).
3. Keith Hammonds, ˜˜Handle with Care,™™ Fast Company, August 2002.
4. Bob Calandra, ˜˜Finders Keepers,™™ Human Resource Executive, June 2,
5. Ibid.
6. Ruth Baum Bigus, ˜˜Formalizing Policies Helps Firm Retain Employ-
ees,™™ Kansas City Star, October 9, 2001.
7. Rachael King, ˜˜Turnover is the New Enemy at One of America™s
Oldest Restaurant Chains,™™ Workforce Management, April 2004.
8. Haig R. Nalbantian and Anne Szostak, ˜˜How Fleet Bank Fought Em-
ployee Flight,™™ Harvard Business Review, April 2004.
9. Kemba J. Dunham, ˜˜Talent Travails,™™ The Wall Street Journal, citing
McKinsey survey of 3,400 corporate of¬cers and 6,500 middle and
senior managers at 56 companies, November 28, 2000.

The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave

10. Based on survey conducted by Workforce Management Magazine and
cited in report, ˜˜Spending More Money on Measuring People,™™
March 2004.
11. Ibid.
12. Jim Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and
Others Don™t (New York: Harper Business, 2001).


Summary Checklist of Employer-
of-Choice Engagement Practices

is provided for readers interested in reviewing all 54
The following checklist
engagement practices presented in Chapters Four through Ten. Because it
is dif¬cult to focus on implementing several practices all at once, you may
wish to use the checklist to put items in order of importance or urgency as
you begin to plan your employer-of-choice strategy.

To Match Candidates™ Expectations with Work Realities:
1. Conduct realistic job previews with every job candidate.
2. Hire from pool of temp, adjunct staff, interns, and part-time
3. Hire candidates referred by current employees.
4. Create a realistic job description with a short list of most critical
5. Allow team members to interview candidates.
6. Hire from pool of current employees.
7. Create a way for candidates to ˜˜sample™™ the work experience.
8. Survey or interview new hires to ¬nd out how to minimize new
hire surprises in the future.

To Match the Person to the Job:
9. Make a strong commitment to the continuous upgrading of talent.
10. See that all hiring managers perform talent forecasting and success-
factor analysis.
11. Cast a wide recruiting net to expand the universe of best-¬t candi-
12. Follow a purposeful and rigorous interview process.
13. Track measures of hiring success.
Summary Checklist of Employer-of-Choice Engagement Practices

To Match the Task to the Person:
14. Conduct ˜˜entrance interviews™™ with all new hires.
15. Work to enrich the jobs of all employees.
16. Delegate tasks to challenge employees and enrich jobs.

To Provide Coaching and Feedback:
17. Provide intensive feedback and coaching to new hires.
18. Create a culture of continuous feedback and coaching.
19. Train managers in performance coaching.
20. Make performance management process less controlling and more
of a partnership.
21. Terminate nonperformers when best efforts to coach or reassign
don™t pay off.
22. Hold managers accountable for coaching and giving feedback.

To Provide Career Advancement and Growth Opportunities:
23. Provide self-assessment tools and career self-management training
for all employees.
24. Offer career coaching tools and training for all managers.
25. Provide readily accessible information on career paths and compe-
tency requirements.
26. Create alternatives to traditional career ladders.
27. Keep employees informed about the company™s strategy, direction,
and talent need forecasts.
28. Build and maintain a fair and ef¬cient internal job-posting process.
29. Show clear preference for hiring from within.
30. Eliminate HR policies and management practices that block inter-
nal movement.
31. Create a strong mentoring culture.
32. Keep career development and performance appraisal processes sep-
33. Build an effective talent review and succession management
34. Maintain a strong commitment to employee training.

To Make Employees Feel Valued and Recognized:
35. Offer competitive base pay linked to value creation.
36. Reward results with variable pay aligned with business goals.

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37. Reward employees at a high enough level to motivate higher per-
38. Use cash payouts for on-the-spot recognition.
39. Involve employees and encourage two-way communication when
designing new pay systems.
40. Monitor the pay system to ensure fairness, ef¬ciency, consistency,
and accuracy.
41. Create a culture of informal recognition founded on sincere ap-
42. Make new hires feel welcome and important.
43. Ask for employee input, then listen, and respond.
44. Keep employees in the loop.
45. Provide the right tools and resources.
46. Keep the physical environment ¬t to work in.

To Reduce Stress from Work-Life Imbalance and Overwork:
47. Initiate a culture of ˜˜giving-before-getting.™™
48. Tailor the ˜˜culture of giving™™ to the needs of key talent.
49. Build a culture that values spontaneous acts of caring.
50. Build social connectedness and cohesion among employees.
51. Encourage fun in the workplace.

To Inspire Trust and Con¬dence in Senior Leaders:
52. Inspire con¬dence in a clear vision, a workable plan, and the com-
petence to achieve it.
53. Back up words with actions.
54. Place your trust and con¬dence in your workforce.


Guidelines and Considerations
for Exit Interviewing/Surveying
and Turnover Analysis

should be seen as a valuable source for the
Exit survey and interview data
analysis of turnover root causes, but it is too often regarded as super¬cial
and relatively meaningless because of the way it is gathered and who does
the gathering. When viewed as a strategically important retention practice,
conducted skillfully, and incorporated with other relevant organizational
data, exit survey and interview data can help organizations develop effec-
tive, on-target solutions to the push factors that too often drive good peo-
ple out of the organization.

The Traditional Exit Interview
As traditionally practiced in many organizations, the exit interview is a
perfunctory, multipurpose exercise, conducted on the employee™s last day
by an HR staffer. The agenda usually includes collecting the employee™s
keys, badges, or other equipment, completing forms, discussing separation
bene¬ts, and interviewing the employee about his or her feelings about
working at the company and reasons for leaving. The employee may also
be asked to ¬ll out an exit survey form.
As discussed in Chapter One, the employee is often reluctant to reveal
the true reasons for leaving to a company representative, the interviewer
may have never been trained in the art of exit interviewing, and the col-
lected data may never be analyzed and made available to management.
These are serious limitations that undermine the legitimate purposes of exit
interviewing and surveying.
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The Best Reasons to Conduct Exit Interviews
and Surveys
Many organizations have decided not to conduct the exit interview at the
same time as employee™s keys are collected and bene¬ts are discussed be-
cause these agenda items may set the wrong tone and conditions for an
open discussion of the real reasons for leaving. They also muddy and detract
from the true purposes of an exit interview, which include:

• Bringing any ˜˜push-factor™™ reasons for leaving to the surface
• Alerting the organization to speci¬c issues to be addressed
• Giving the employee a chance to vent and gain a sense of closure
• Giving the employee the opportunity to provide information that
may help colleagues left behind
• Providing information about competitors and their practices
• In some situations, offering a ¬nal opportunity to eliminate the ˜˜push
factor™™ reason for leaving and convincing the employee to stay

Most Favorable Conditions for Conducting Exit
Interviews and Surveys
Whether interviews or surveys are used, there are certain conditions that
tend to create optimum results in achieving the above bene¬ts to the indi-
vidual and the organization:

1. Trained, Independent Interviewers. The critical skills needed for suc-
cessful exit interviewers do not come naturally for many”putting
the employee at ease, creating rapport, and asking probing, follow-
up questions instead of accepting the individual™s initial surface re-
sponse. Interviewers must also understand the distinction between
asking employees why they are leaving and asking why they didn™t
stay. No matter how well a company representative may have been
trained, there will always be those departing employees who do not
feel comfortable opening up with any representative of the organi-


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