August 1, 2007
Why Do Employees Stay?
We measure all kinds of things in our organizations—sales, profit, growth, productivity, square footage and so on. But Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman say that there’s no measuring stick for a manager’s ability to find, focus and keep talented people. They try to fill in the gap by identifying the key questions every employee asks, consciously or unconsciously (pp. 43ff.).
The answers to these questions can provide a helpful measure of how likely talented employees are to stay and how likely a business is to be profitable and productive, and have customer satisfaction. The authors compare the groups of questions to climbing a mountain like Everest, in which mountaineers use successively higher camps as they assault the mountain. What are the questions?
Base Camp: What Do I Get?
Camp 1: What Do I Give? (Measures self-esteem and worth.)
Camp 2: Do I Belong?
Camp 3: How Can We All Grow?
No matter how high an employee rates Camp 2 or Camp 3, Buckingham and Coffman suggest, the longer the needs of Base Camp and Camp 1 are unmet, the more likely an employee is to burnout, become unproductive and leave. Great managers take aim at Base Camp and Camp 1.
Here’s a quick exercise to put this in practice: Based on the first six questions, what would you do differently at your next supervisory or team meeting?