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Improve Business Performance With the Join, Stay, Leave Model

Improve Business Performance With the Join, Stay, Leave Model

The Join, Stay, Leave model provides a simple concept for business owners to hire effectively and to develop leadership within the company. At FIREPOWER, we view this common approach as attract, develop, retain, and a primary method for building what we call contributor roles.  If you struggle to retain employees you know that change is costly; recruiting and training new employees are only a few of the financial implications.  Fortunately, you can improve employee retention by leveraging the Join, Stay, Leave model.

What Is the Join, Stay Leave Model?

The Join, Stay Leave model is a human capital strategy that focuses on identifying the reasons why employees join, stay, and leave a company.  The data is collected ongoing, and used primarily for employee retention.  The information gathered from the three facets of an employee life cycle, join, stay, leave model, allows companies to develop and maintain fully engaged contributors to business growth and succession.  The longer term yield of this approach is worth the investment.

The small business world typically applies a more linear approach to employee retention. They focus on the reasons why employees leave, while overlooking the reasons why they were attracted in the first place- join, and and what sustains their enthusiasm – why they stay. The join, stay, leave model is a more comprehensive approach but worth the time and planning throughout a year to ensure a stable and competitive employee foundation.  It provides a deeper level of understanding into what drives or motivates employees to join, stay and leave a company.

Why Employees Join

Understanding why employees are attracted to your company helps to craft effective role descriptions and messaging that attracts the right candidates for potential hire.  While total compensation is important, there are more reasons why an employee will choose a position.  They consider other things such as work hours, location, company culture, professional development opportunities and purposeful alignment with their life goals.  If your working relationship does not live up to proposed expectations, a new employee will be less likely to consider a long term association.

Why Employees Stay

It’s equally important to understand why employees stay with your company. There are typically multiple factors such as opportunities to learn, to engage in company growth, and to experience your company culture outside of the work setting.  If an employee enjoys working, there is much to learn about why, and how to structure engagement for the broader employee base.  Job satisfaction is not a single aspect of an employee’s tenure.  Job or role satisfaction is multifaceted and evolving, and must be part of the overall business strategy, in order to achieve your growth goals.  A positive company culture that centers on recognition and appreciation will create a more satisfying work environment and often compels employees to stay.  Combined with ongoing learning, the ability to perform their best, achievable results, and effective management, an employee is more likely to stay.

Why Employees Leave

The third and final component of the Join, Stay, Leave model is identifying why employees leave. If you don’t know why someone chooses to separate, you will be challenged to improve your retention rate. Employees may leave for any number of reasons.  Disengagement is a primary factor in separation.  While we like to target Millennials for their views on enjoying a significant role in their company, this is really not a generational issue. Boomers, the largest cohort of employees for many years, have made their fair share of career transitions and innovated roles to gain creative freedom.  A Gallup survey reveals that 13 percent of employees are actively disengaged. While rates of disengagement have become lower in recent years, it’s remains an important part of why employees leave should not to be overlooked in retention planning.

Poor management should not go without mention as a reason employees will leave a company. Poor management includes lack of employee development toward personal goals, lack of opportunities to grow, and lack of mentoring, all common causes of turnover.  If your company’s management is strong in targeting personal professional goals, ongoing communication, and mentoring opportunities for growth, we find great advancement in retention.  No matter the level of contribution in your company, your employees want to know that they are a part of a dynamic team and that they are guided by effective leaders.

Tips on How to Perform the Join, Stay, Leave Model

You can identify the reasons why prospective employees are interested in joining your company by asking the right questions during interviews. When interviewing a candidate inquire as to why he or she wants to join your company.  There is much to learn from this answer about motivation, cultural desires, and industry presence that may be important to a candidate.  Ask them to think about and share, why they are attracted to your business culture and what stands out among other competing opportunities.  This simple dialogue will allow you to identify the factors that make your company an attractive place of employment.  Don’t isolate this conversation to interviews, keep it going as part of regular performance dialogue.

Second, explore the reasons why employees stay with your company.  Many larger companies use surveys to collect this information, but for most businesses in the lower middle market, we find specific regularly scheduled (quarterly) dialogue to be most effective. Known as stay surveys, the systematic collection of data generally consists of questions associated with job satisfaction.  Waiting for an annual opinion creates two problems; inability to share input that is still relevant or current, and lack of timely responses to employee input.  Providing  employees with regular stay dialogue, instead of an annual stay survey, and considering their input, will ensure you have clear and current understanding of what keeps your employees motivated to stay.

To understand why employees leave your company, larger corporations can use exit interviews. An exit interview is similar to a traditional “entry” interview, except it’s used when an employee leaves. During an exit interview, you can ask the employee what compelled him or her to decide to separate.  As in stay surveys, this leaves important data untapped, managers unaware, and a higher risk of being blindsided by what seems a sudden decision to leave your company. Don’t wait, structed regular dialogue is worth the time and effort to implement.

In Conclusion

The concept is clear and simple. Think about the Join, Stay, Leave approach to attracting and keeping your best talent. Take time this quarter to explore why your teams join your company to advance your hiring practices, why they stay, to enhance business performance and contributions to growth, and why they leave, to reduce the high cost of turnover.  This relatively simple workforce strategy has great pay off in the form of lower turnover, higher employee retention rate, and your best competitive position through your biggest asset, your people.

Maria Forbes