Retaining Top Talent: How to Ask an Employee to Stay

The last thing a manager wants to hear is one of their star employees saying, “I quit.” Yet it happens all the time. But just because a good employee has or is thinking about leaving doesn’t mean you can’t win them back.

Competition for top talent seems to get tougher each year. That means you’ll need to put more effort into keeping your best employees using retention tactics like stay interviews and pay increases. Here are some tips on retaining good employees, talent management strategies, and how to ask an employee to stay when they’ve got one foot out the door.

1. Remain in Touch With Former Employees

Not all hope is lost, even if your cherished worker has already walked away. How often have you made a decision that you regretted? For most of us, the answer is frequently. We all have regrets, including employees.

One of the best ways to win back good employees is to make it a point to stay in touch, for example, through the occasional email or social media. Let the former employee know you were thinking about them and wanted to reach out to see how they’re doing.

Consider including an article or a notice about an event that might be of interest to them. Take it a step further by picking up the phone and asking how their new job is going. In either case, remind such high-performing employees that they are welcome back anytime.

2. Create a Better Work Environment

Whether a top performer has left or you’re worried about others walking away, it’s time to learn how to ask an employee to stay and to retain your current employees. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a work environment they’d want to join.

For example, suppose an excellent employee gave notice because they are no longer able to work the schedule they were hired for. This is a team member who is worth keeping. Since you may not be in a position to offer them a higher salary or bonus, think about these other ideas for making it worth their while:

  • Get to the root of the problem – consider adjusting their schedule so that leaving is no longer their only option.
  • Ask them specifically what it will take to retain them. Don’t dismiss any ideas until you have had adequate time to consider all of them.
  • If there’s an opening for someone with their job skills and work ethic, offer them a promotion.
  • Think outside the box – career development opportunities are high on the wish list of many employees these days, particularly millennials. Commit to a dollar amount so they can attend courses or work with a career coach.
  • See if they would be interested in a career mentorship program. Offer to make an introduction to someone who can help grow their career.

When it comes to enticing an employee to stay, you probably have more options than you realize.

3. Address Management Issues

By now you probably have a good idea why your high-performing employees are taking their knowledge and skills elsewhere. Now is the time to take action and correct problem areas that are preventing good employees from staying.

For example, it’s no secret that many people leave companies because of their boss or manager. Is one supervisor in your business having significantly more voluntary turnover than the rest? Is this the same supervisor that you’ve been thinking of replacing? Do what needs to be done – remove them.

Then reach out to those high performers who have left or could leave due to their managers. Let them know there is a new management team in place, and ask them to stay or come back, as the case may be. Don’t be surprised if some say yes.

Continue to monitor the environment so that you can correct problems before they become big issues. This will help you retain employees you’ve worked so hard to secure.

4. If You Can’t Keep Them, End on a Positive Note

It may seem unorthodox to discuss allowing people to leave on their own terms as part of an article that’s focused on how to ask an employee to stay. However, this is exactly what some of the best companies do as part of their employment strategy.

Niki Leondakis, CEO of Commune Hotels and Resorts, said it best: “We tell our employees ‘We hope you’ll stay. If you do decide to go, we hope you’ll come back.'” Leondakis said that many people do return. There is no shame in coming back, and those valued employees who do are welcomed with open arms.

5. Retain Top Talent by Hiring the Best Candidates

While most employers could benefit from learning how to ask an employee to stay, it’s not always going to work. And unfortunately, the cost of turnover can be high. The good news is that there are steps you can take to avoid these situations, from upgrading your recruitment strategy to find the right employees, to utilizing expert retention tools so you can keep the ones you need. With our unique connection to the business world and our global reach, Monster has insights to share. Find out how you can get free business resources for your company today.