Retention Hack: What to Say to Make Your Best Colleagues and Staff Stay

Last week we dove into the growing trend away from exit interviews in lieu of stay interviews. Understanding what makes people stay so, you can do more of what works is key in The Great Resignation.

image of a cartoon keyboard with a key that says Staff TurnoverEven if you don’t have the same turnover crisis, wouldn’t you like to keep it that way? Stay interviews are for you too.

Even if you aren’t responsible for hiring and firing people, wouldn’t you like to learn what makes your colleagues stay so that your team can enable healthy behaviours, practices and rituals? After all, the extra work, onboarding and training likely fall to you when there’s turnover.

What Everyone Can Do

Let’s get even more micro for a second. Did you know there are so many ways that you can reinforce why people belong, how they’re making a difference, and why it would matter to you if they didn’t come back tomorrow? We have created a list of openers to give meaningful, sincere and personalized appreciation that might cause someone to pause and reevaluate leaving. Be such a great colleague, boss and partner that it would be a hardship to leave you!

10 things to say that make people stay:

  1. I just heard about what a difference you’re making on the project.
  2. We received a great client review about you.
  3. I’ve seen you really grow in the area of _____.
  4. You epitomize our values by _____.
  5. You make people’s day better by _____.
  6. I very much appreciate it when you _____.
  7. Until you joined us, we struggled with _____.
  8. You have so much potential, and I’d like to be part of your continuing growth _____.
  9. Have you considered taking the lead on _____?
  10. You have an excellent reputation for _____.

And a bonus question for H.R./hiring managers:

When you were hired, I knew you would be good at _____. I was right because you _____.

image of a woman giving a thumbs up with happy employees in the background who will stayBe the best part about working where they work. What do you need to say now so that when your colleague gets called by that recruiter tomorrow, they say:
“I’m flattered, but I actually have such great colleagues, and I really fit in here. I’m happy where I am. Best of luck!”

Now, go ahead and share this with some folks in your team and peer group so you create an authentic recognition ripple effect that fuels retention

Could you use a few more ideas to keep your brightest ROCKSTARS? Check out these previous posts for a ton of tips:

This Stay Interview Tool is our gift to you. Access the complete list of questions here.

P.S. In case you haven’t already listened, here’s a yummy interview I did with Angela Kokott on the Rob Breakenridge Show!

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Deb Rakonjac

Organizational Development, Purolator Inc.

"Sarah nailed it!  She worked with the planning group to learn about the organization, the audience, the desired key messages and integrated it seamlessly into her keynote. Her energy was contagious! We received rave reviews of this portion of our event and Sarah was able to speak to all members of our organization in a way that motivated them to recognize others everyday. Our executives were extraordinarily pleased and integrated FROGging into their recent board meeting. Purolator is grateful to Sarah for dropping the pebble and we continue to see the ripples from this session across the organization. Working with Tami was phenomenal and the supports were easy to integrate to ensure the session went well. Thanks to you both!!"
Douglas D Swift

President & CEO, Swiftco Inc.

"I have had the Sarah experience in numerous settings: As a keynote, around a table with several other business owners, one on one over coffee, chatting with others at a conference reception, dining with a small group of colleagues. No matter the setting you always get the same Sarah: engaging, attentive, interested, inspiring, motivational, genuine. And always with an infectious smile. Do yourself, your company, your association a favour. Get the Greatness Magnified (Sarah) experience. The payback is priceless."
Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

Some of the Great Organizations We Serve