Man with three arrows to make decisionsYou know how they say recruiting is like dating? If so, it’s not too big a stretch to say that a job can be a marriage between employer and employee. And like any marriage, there are ups and downs, one of which is that crucial period when an employee is thinking about leaving. We’ve written a couple of articles here on Recruiter about why that might be, based on various research and infographics.

But is there anything an HR professional or manager can do to keep employees from walking out that door? Here are some questions you can ask informally that may help you suss out trouble before it hits.

Are they leaving for a better opportunity?

If you’re the type of company that treated your employees poorly during the economic downturn, then you might hear a resounding “yes” when you ask this question. In fact, it’s not something you even really need to ask, you can just see where they land on LinkedIn. Do all of your former employees seem to take a pay bump or a stature leap after leaving your employ? That might be a sign you’re underestimating the talent within your organization. If they haven’t left yet, find out how you can challenge them.

Have your employees been poached?

Everyone likes being noticed to some degree or another and employer’s have to fight hard against that kind of ego boost. Most people will be flattered at a job offer. Many employers try to crack down on actions that might potentially lead to a new gig (Internet use at work, sign-in sheets, prohibiting personal calls) but that strategy can backfire, mostly because it’s designed for 12 year olds.

Is their decision based on finances?

Are your salary guides or benefits (despite what your job ads say) not really that competitive? If you haven’t evaluated what you’re spending on your employees, you may be opening yourself up to losing more of your workforce than you should. Research the going rates for your open positions, yes, but research those for employees who have been with you for at least two years. If you find your company’s package come up wanting, it might be time to make some changes. And if you can’t make up the difference in money, brainstorm creative ways to reward your employees. 2013 Salary Guides from Robert Half are a great place to start. Also check the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Department of Labor for comparison numbers.

Did they hit a ceiling with your company?

Employees (AKA “people”) grow and change. They need the room to do so. Do you find that many of your employees leave at the same level or when they’ve been with your company for a certain amount of time? Pay attention. It could be that succession planning and workforce pipelining are something your HR team needs to look into. Employees want to work for an organization that gives them room to grow their skills. If they can’t see their career path with your company, employees may seek it elsewhere.

Do you have a bad apple?

This is one of the hardest ones to deal with. But alternatively one of the easiest ones to spot. If you’re receiving feedback in exit interview performance reviews or via informal or anonymous complaints about the same ONE person, well then you don’t need to read this blog post to tell you what to do.



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