Retain Your Best and Brightest #2

Following up on last week’s blog, if you want to retain (and attract) the best and brightest, you need to lead the pack as far as being the employer of choice in your area. Here’s a very unconventional suggestion:

1. Ask your employees why they work for your organization. You can use a combination of various means, for example:

· anonymous surveys (e.g. Survey Monkey),

· one-on-one meetings,

· an outside agency, and/or

· Glass Door.

They each have their pros and cons. The most important aspect of any of these is to listen to what’s really being said, underneath the words. Watch the body language, listen for the tone of voice, hear the pauses and subtle nuances in phrasing, pay attention to Freudian slips, and pay especial attention to jokes (which often hide a truth that the speaker does not want to say directly).

2. Then ask your employees what they’d like to see changed so that they would wholeheartedly recommend your organization to a close friend. And again, listen.

3. Then, DO SOMETHING with the information that your employees have entrusted to you. At the very least, let them know the results of the survey – good, bad, and indifferent. When you do, you will reinforce their trust However, if you don’t, they will feel that you have just disrespected them in a very important way, and you will damage morale. So be prepared to be transparent with your survey results and your follow-up actions.

Let me add a shameless commercial plug at this point – check out Vantage Point, an organizational health survey. I’m one of the creators. However, an OD consultant with decades of experience has said that it’s the best survey he’s ever seen. You can see more at


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