Watch for Reactions…Ask Questions

When I work as an employee retention speaker, audiences are often surprised when I tell them that the key to taking a stroll through the facility or even sitting in a meeting is to watch for reactions.  People usually don’t hide them.  They are there for you to see or, to even sense when you are with them and talking to them.  Very few people are good poker players and hide their reactions well.  If someone is trying to hide their emotions, they usually have their “poker face” on which is rare.

Recently, I was helping an organization as an employee retention consultant and one of the VPs said very little and showed almost no emotion in our meeting.  His normal reaction should have been to be happy that they were finally getting a handle on their runaway employee turnover.  There was no sign of happiness there at all.  In fact, the reaction was almost one of being disturbed that I was there.  So, I confronted the VP and got an answer.

The answer I got was that he was embarrassed and a bit hurt that they had to bring in a person as an employee retention trainer to solve a problem he felt that he should have been able to solve himself.  Once that was out on the table he and I talked about the issue of turnover and employee retention strategies.  He soon realized, this was something beyond his expertise and that it had nothing to do with his lack of expertise in his field, which was manufacturing.  We were able to clear up why he was acting the way he was so we could move forward to solving the problem.

Virtually everyone shows some reaction.  Those reactions are signals.  When you see a signal, probe further.  Ask questions like, “You seem overly quiet.”  “It looks like something is bothering you” etc.  Then respond to their response to figure out what is going on.  Don’t just ignore the reaction.  SOMETHING IS GOING ON AND IT MAY BE IMPORTANT.  It may be the person is deep in thought about whether to take another job!  The key is you need to be watching for and in tune to people’s reactions and moods.  They tell you something.  What exactly, you might not know.  If you don’t know, ask them.

By taking this approach, you get answers that often have an impact on your employee retention.  This is how you take the pulse of your organization.  I don’t need an engagement study to take the pulse of the organization because as a human being and employee retention consultant I am taking the pulse all the time.  I am asking questions when I see reactions and other non-verbal clues.  If you want to understand what is going on in your organization and how it might impact your employee retention, watch for reactions…and ask questions.

Jeff Kortes

jeff@humanassetmgt.com

Jeff speaks and conducts workshops regularly in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana. He draws on his experiences as a human resources professional, father, coach, martial artist and U.S. Army veteran to provide thought-provoking programs that yield results.