Get Reworked Podcast Episode 31 Guest Beverly Kaye

Get Reworked Podcast: How to Get Good People to Stay During the Great Resignation

March 15, 2022 Talent Management
Siobhan Fagan
By Siobhan Fagan, Mike Prokopeak

Get Reworked Podcast Episode 31 Guest Beverly Kaye
The reason why employees decide to quit is often not very complicated. But that doesn't mean the solutions are easy, particularly as the Great Resignation has legions of workers looking for the door. And with more and more companies heading back into the office, nearly every corporate decision is under a microscope.

In this episode of Get Reworked, we talk to Beverly Kaye, career expert and author of multiple books on employee engagement, talent development and performance management including "Up Is Not the Only Way" and "Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go." Retaining your best people during times like this starts with knowing what employees are feeling, and then taking targeted actions based on that understanding.

Listen: Get Reworked Full Episode List

"Leaders have to know that people are coming back either burning, churning or yearning," said Beverly. "Burning meaning, 'I can't wait to get back and meet with my colleagues.' Churning meaning 'I'm coming back kind of half-heartedly. I don't know if I really want to.' And yearning, meaning 'Well, maybe now it'll be different."

Highlights of the conversation include:

  • Why the issues underlying the Great Resignation are nothing new but the scale is different.
  • How to respond in situations where employees have the leverage.
  • What managers can do to hold on to their people, and what to do when they can't.
  • Why you don't need AI and advanced technology to boost employee retention.

Plus, co-hosts Siobhan Fagan and Mike Prokopeak talk with Beverly about the power of stay interviews, what it means to be "loose in the saddle," and whether bonuses and incentives are effective retention tools. Listen in for more.

Have a suggestion, comment or topic for a future episode? Drop us a line at [email protected].

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Show Notes

Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript has been edited for space and clarity.

Beverly Kaye: Never compete on dollars, cause you'll never win. There's always someone who will pay more. Compete on culture. Compete on what it's like to live and work in this environment. A bonus only lasts so long, and then it wears out. So it's impossible to compete on dollars, nowadays. Compete on culture.

Mike Prokopeak: You just heard from Beverly Kaye, and we thought she would be a great guest to bring on the podcast because she is one of the world's pre-eminent experts on employee engagement, retention and career development. She's got more than four decades of experience researching and writing about this field, she is a best selling author of books, like "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em," "Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go" and "Up Is Not the Only Way."

She's been recognized by the Association for Talent Development with its lifetime achievement award in 2018. That was in recognition of her extensive practice around the talent development field. She has built her own company focused on career development called Career Systems International, and now is focused on being a solopreneur, and being as she calls it, a guide on the side and a sage on the stage.

She's got a lot to share with us around employee retention, particularly in this moment where we are dealing with the throes of the Great Resignation. I'm excited to bring her on. I've known Bev for years. I know she's got tons of insights, as you just heard, and is going to be sharing that with us here in the podcast. So Siobhan, are you ready?

Siobhan Fagan: I am so ready, Mike.

Mike: All right, let's Get Reworked.

The Great Resignation Is Not a New Trend

Mike: Welcome to the podcast, Bev.

Bev: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Mike: Alright, so I've known you for quite some time, and I know that you've been doing this work for quite some time, too. So that's why I'm especially excited to have you on today to talk about the Great Resignation, and what companies and what leaders can do during this time, because you do have a wealth of experience.

You've seen a lot of things that have happened over the years with this. And I think there's a lot that you can offer to companies as they're looking for how do they grapple with the challenges that have come out of the Great Resignation — this idea that legions of people are leaving their jobs, sometimes with no other jobs lined up, and really sort of embarking on a new adventure.

So my first question for you has to be about this current moment we're in. Is this Great Resignation that we're experiencing any different from what's been happening for a long time in certain areas of work? Do you feel like we're in a different moment right now?

Bev: Maybe not different, but it's bigger than a breadbox.

And I'll betcha people out there, many don't know what a breadbox is. But that's the old saying that it's a gigantic movement around the world. And no, it's not new. Companies were always losing great people. But I think the attitude was, "Oh, well, there's more talent out there." And now I think that attitude is gone. There is talent out there, and talent has choices like never before. So it's not new, and the size of it is new. So I think organizations' leaders are paying attention in a way maybe they haven't before.

Mike: I think it's interesting that you brought that point up that it's not new. But if you do look at some of the data behind what's happening, it does seem to be larger, as you said, and it seems to be more broad-based.

So if you went back into the Great Recession 10-15 years ago, now, there was always low unemployment in professional sectors — exceedingly low. There was always that demand for talented folks. What's happening with the Great Resignation is that you have people up and down the board, from professional services leaving their jobs to frontline workers, restaurant workers, hotel workers, healthcare workers, all of them sort of leaving in this Great Resignation as well. So it's become much more broad based. Some might say that's healthy, especially after two years of pandemic working. What's your feeling on that? Are we going through a natural phase of this or is this something uniquely different?

Bev: You know, maybe it is healthy. Maybe for the first time we're hearing the employee complaints like we've never heard them.

You know, it's interesting, I was looking through my files and I found an old article, titled "May I See Your Whine List." And wine was spelled w-h-i-n-e. And I was writing about the things that employees have been whining about that we've never quite dealt with. And now I think we have no choice but to deal.

And the poaching going on, the organization's going after each other's most talented people, and the solid citizens alike, are being targeted by competitors, and your competitors know exactly who your talent is. And they're beaming their headlights on that talent.

Time to Deal with the Whine List

Siobhan: Bev, it's interesting, because you're saying that it had to get bigger than a breadbox, which I do actually follow that analogy so I kind of love it. I also love toast, so there's that. But it had to get to that size before businesses noticed that something was going on. So this has been going on for a long time. Employees have had, when you call it a whine list, it sounds like their complaints potentially are not legitimate. Were there legitimate things that employees were upset about?

Bev: You know, I'm going to dig up that article and share it, because everything they were whining about were legitimate. You know, hear me, you know. I don't see how I can grow in this career. I don't see how my manager even knows who I am, let alone supports me.

Mike, you mentioned I've been at this a long time. It's four decades, at least. And I wrote "Up Is Not the Only Way" for the first time in the early 80s, and I said then, people are going to leave because everybody wants up and there's not enough ups to go around. So how do we begin to show people, there are other paths, than up, and other paths that could fulfill your dreams.

And all of a sudden now in the past few years, talent mobility is a big headline. And talent mobility has always been a headline. And it is a major cause of wonderful employees leaving, because they don't see opportunities. And the organization is not showing them the opportunities or talking about the opportunities.

Mike: Bev, I like that you brought up talent mobility, because by opportunity, what I think a lot of employees are saying is, yes, I want career opportunities, but I also want flexibility in my work. And as companies are looking to push people back into the office as local regulations allow, they're going to be restricting some of that flexibility for people to work how and when they want.

Bev: Right. It's happening already, as I see companies saying, I just got off the phone with someone who's bringing back all their employees at least two days a week. And that seemed, you know, reasonable to me. And then the HR leader I was talking to said, the minute we announced it, I got six resignations from my own team.

It's like I want it the way I want it. And if I don't get it the way I want it, someone else will give it to me or I'll go do it on my own. And maybe in the past, those were idle threats. And now they're real threats, because there are companies who are willing to bend the way employees want them to bend.

Give Employees Leverage to Keep Them

Mike: What do employers do then? Because there was no right answer. In that case, you just gave us that example of the HR manager who, as soon as they announced, two days a week seems reasonable. The majority of your working time still is flexible to work where you want at home, wherever that may be. But you know, we wanted to be in two days a week but still they saw people resigning.

So what do you do? I mean, is it even worth it to try to address the challenge, or is the whine list at this point so overwhelming that you just got to kind of make your plans for it?

Bev: So let me give a tip to any leader out there who's listening and is fearful of the career conversation, because up can't be the only way.

Sit down with your employee. Think about the idea of career leverage and write the word LEVERR in front of you and, and know that it stands for lateral, enrichment, vertical, exploratory, realignment which is moving down, or relocation which is moving out. LEVERR for leverage.

And what you want to give your employees is the feeling that there are choices, and they have leverage. And I would say also, when you see someone who actually needs to leave, you cannot give them what they want, I would say to any manager out there, make sure that their exit is elegant.

I talked in one of the books about elegant exits and respectful returns. And I am seeing more boomeranging than I've ever seen before.

So managers out there suffering from the Great Resignation, when there's nothing you can do — let that person, that great talent, know that the door's open. I wrote something where I said, leave the key under the mat so people know they can come knock on the door again. Because in old days, and I was there, in the old days you know, companies would lock the door when someone dared leave, and you couldn't come back. And now the Boomerang is happening, I think around the world.

Managers: Notice When Something Seems Off

Siobhan: Bev, I want to return to your friend's example of the six employees leaving, because it struck me when you told that story that for those people to quit, immediately upon hearing that new policy, there had to have been more going on, that they would not have a conversation with their boss, whether it was your friend or their manager.

So it speaks to a greater issue and company culture. And so I guess my question is, should businesses be doing a better job of picking up on these signs before it gets to that point where they announced a new policy and six people resigned immediately?

Bev: Absolutely. Capital letters neon, that the signs are there were blinded to the signs, because of the huge amount of work on our desks.

You know, I just talked to someone else this morning about why is there so much more work on every leaders desk it feels like than there ever was. So it's like the signs are there if you take the time to notice them. And I'm very big on being practical.

So here's another practical tip. And I'd say it's notice when something's off. And when you notice that means recognize, hey, what's going on. It means verbalize, let's talk about it. And it means mobilize, if you can, hey, there is another opportunity somewhere else in this company, and I'll introduce you to that manager.

And most of us in the rush of life are recognize and don't do the next two steps. And I'll give you a quick example. In my own office a week ago, I have two full-time people. And one of them is doing all of my social media, young woman, new college grad, they both come into the office and I looked at her, she looked sad and I said, hey, you don't look happy, what's going on? And a tear came to her eye. And I said, well, what's that about? And let's talk. And she said, I love working here. And I love the office atmosphere. But I'm not interested in HR. I'm not interested in corporations. I want to be in the entertainment field. And I had to eat my own medicine and say, then let's move on this now. I'll help you look for a job in the entertainment world, the music world. And you help me find somebody. And most leaders might say, oh, well hang in, it'll get better. I didn't want to lose her. But I know hang in it'll get better was wrong, wrong for her and wrong for me. So I think that's essential.

Siobhan: That story really struck me, Bev, because when you were talking about how most people fail to move beyond the recognition, I was thinking how it's probably hard for a lot have managers who are quite adept at making sure that work is completed in a certain way and that deadlines are met to have some of the harder conversations that have come up. It seems like even more so in the last two years.

Would you say that's the case?

Bev: Yeah, I would. And, you know, what I know is that for individuals who grew up where soft skills came easy, you know, my HR colleagues, etc, where we're not afraid to say, hey, how are you what's going on, but for leaders who grew up and have great technical skills, you know, moving into the softer skill set, and having that kind of conversation is hard.

You know, I'm married to a real rocket scientist. For him when he had a team, and he was inside, talking about an equation was easy. Talking about anything emotional was hard and he avoided it. And so I think we have to make those conversations easier. And maybe we help the individual, make it easier for their managers. And we have to help the manager with the skills they need to open those conversations, and hang out in those conversations for more than, you know, a minute, if that makes sense.

How to Identify When Things Are Going Bad

Mike: It does make sense. But I think there's also the issue of managers actually knowing that there's a problem to address, because I think you're pretty attuned to people and to how they interact at work. And so you, you're attuned to noticing those sort of things.

Many managers, particularly those who may be in technical fields may not be, or they just want to come in and get the job done, or they just want to kind of focus on that aspect of it. How do you as a manager in those situations, or those type of environments, know when things are going from healthy to unhealthy, from a good amount of churn bringing in new people to bad?

Bev: One idea is, I think managers talk to two or three of your colleagues and listen to each other say, here's what I'm hearing, here's what's going on, here's what's hard for me. Maybe just a conversation about what I'm seeing. Now, this takes a lot of guts to say to my colleague, I'm seeing this, and I don't know what to do with it. What did you do? And maybe it's up to HR leaders to have those conversations.

You know, in my work on retention, I remember with one organization, we got them to have "loose in the saddle" meetings. And that was exactly what they call them. And a group of senior people would come together, and the question was, who's loose in the saddle? Who looks like they're looking around, and what can we do to keep them? And they would identify individuals who looked like they could look for greener pastures. And I thought that was very clever, that they all talked about that.

And in one organization that was global, when there was someone precious who they said was loose in the saddle, leaders would come on from all parts of the world to brainstorm how do we keep that precious talent. Because the other thing that I want to warn leaders about, I call it the Pied Piper phenomenon and it's bigger now than ever: When one leaves others follow. And now the one who leaves is being incented to get their colleagues to follow. So the Pied Piper story that was sad, he blew the flute and walks children into the ocean, I think, but it's very true, it happens. And that one person is incented to bring their friends.

You know, I remember in the days when I was doing in-person workshops and training, having someone walk into the room, who was ashen, pale and looked like they had been traumatized. And it was a session on retention. And I said, well, you know, are you OK? And he said, well, no, my entire team is leaving en masse. In other words, someone said, I'll take all of you and 14 of them were going as a group to another organization. Well, I would have turned ashen, too.

So I think that kind of thing is even happening now. If you don't want to leave your colleagues, come on over, we'll take you and your colleagues. So the warning signs are there.

How Can Technology Play a Role in Retention?

Mike: That loose in the saddle, kind of coming back to that as a warning sign, how can technology help people recognize the loose in the saddle, because the example that you gave there, it makes a lot of sense. You know, we're at a leadership level, we're talking about we've got these high potential people, we want to make sure we don't lose them because they're our future here. I can see that this person, they're kind of itching for their next thing here, let's make sure we find a spot for them.

But you know, when it's happening at that broad level, across teams and across an organization, and this sort of churn is happening much more broadly. How are you seeing technology help companies identify those loose in the saddle people, those people who are at risk for leaving?

Bev: It's interesting you should ask. I've been approached by a brilliant tech person who is developing using AI, and using network analysis, a way to identify who's loose in the saddle. And he is developing a bot, to ask questions of that person who's loose in the saddle, and see how loose they really are.

And they came to me to try to use some of the research from "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em." I'm not a tech person, so I don't know how they're going to do that. But it is using AI to identify and coupling it with network analysis, that who's got the biggest network. Because those people you don't want to lose either. So yes, I think that's being done more and more. But maybe it doesn't need AI, it needs me as a leader, just having my feelers out. And maybe asking people directly, are you thinking about going?

You're reminding me that one thing I'm sorry about is that I never trademarked the idea of stay interviews instead of exit interviews, because my book came out after everybody else already wrote one, but but the idea of managers saying at the exit interview, what can I do to keep you is so wrong. What can I do to keep you is the question to ask, you know, the minute someone joins, it's re-recruiting, and it's asking it of everybody, even your long-term people.

You know, I know, there's a lot of offers out there now, and you have choices. And when I would look out on an audience, and say, you have to ask the question, What can I do to keep you and I look at their faces. And the faces said, oh, I would never ask that. Because everyone would say more money or that other job. And I can't offer that, and then I'd be in more trouble. And I say, then just tell the truth. Say, I can't give you that. But what else matters.

And I've said, you know, around the world, if you ask what else four times, you will probably get something that you can do something about. So it's the stay interview. It's knowing that little things mean a lot. And it's not always the big things.

Pay Attention to the What Employees Say

Siobhan: Is there a good time to ask that question? I mean, I'm thinking specifically, at a time when a lot of us still are not face to face with our managers with our direct reports. And that warning sign of saying, "Do you have a moment to talk?" like that just sets off every red alert in the world. So is there a way to kind of fold that in where it becomes normal, it becomes just part of the natural conversation, Bev?

Bev: You know, I love some meetings with our team manager every has a team to start with a more soft question before they jump to the agenda of the day. Something that gives you a hint, like let's all say what was the best part of last week. You know, what was the thing you worked on? The idea you toyed with that for you, you'd say that was the best part of last week, or the best part of yesterday.

See, right there that question and it's not a big, you know, mushy question, tells me what each of my people are saying, I love doing that. Or even the opposite. What was the worst assignment you did last week? And why? Gives me some data.

And you know, if I ask it of a group, whatever was, the worst part for me, could have been something someone else would have loved doing. So maybe it's starting your team meetings with a question that's not about the work at hand, but give you a clue to what people are feeling. And all of this can be done online on Zoom, but it's looking at people's expressions, it's catching, and maybe it is noticing an expression, and not mentioning it at the time. But calling that person back and saying, gee, when so and so talked about such and such, I noticed a change in your nonverbals, you know, in what I saw, in that the smile on your face seemed to turn into a frown. Was I right?

If I was an employee, and someone caught an expression, and asked me about it, I would think, hey, he or she noticed. And here we are back to notice, noticing, as you recognize, you verbalize and if possible, you mobilize.

The Role of Purpose in Employee Retention

Siobhan: So Bev, I want to bring in a slightly different angle here, because one of the things that we do here, and it does feed to this to a certain extent, in that you can see if employees are actively disengaged in the work, if they don't feel as if it is fulfilling something in them. We've been seeing more and more about, they do it as a generational thing. But I don't think it's necessarily a generational thing, people wanting to feel like there is more purpose in the work that they're doing.

And I was wondering if you could speak a little bit to how important it is to have a purpose driven organization to help with employee retention.

Bev: Right. And the word purpose is a hot word. Many of my friends have written books on purpose, and maybe we have to break purpose apart and say it's more than having a great altruistic belief of sustainability, etc. It's more how purpose gets defined in the work I do. In my work in career development for forever, I have said, job fit is a combination of skills, interests and values.

And the world now is centering on skills in such a big way. And I always say skills alone does not the marriage make, because I could be skilled up the wazoo and something, and I could be bored silly doing it. So I need to see, what's my interest? What's my passion? Does that grab me? And not everything is going to grab you.

And then values is where I think purpose really connects. It's what really matters. It's what do I stand for? And is it in sync with what this organization stands for? And not just the values written on the wall when you walk into our area, but the values people practice every day. And maybe that's where I see purpose kind of fitting, because no one I think can do their best work, if all three of those are not aligned.

And I worry that we're bending only to the skill match, and not to the skill interest value match.

Mike: Yeah, that's a good reminder. I think as companies are looking to re establish themselves with a purpose as they're trying to grapple with some of these challenges around the great resignation as they're reorienting themselves around, going back into the office in some cases and being together again, that's going to change a lot of these things.

So it's a good reminder.

Bev: And, you know, like when you say, coming back, you know, we are so targeted on resignations. You know, I wrote a little article that I'll have to send you called The Great Comeback. And I think leaders have to know that people are coming back. And I'm saying they're coming back either burning, churning or yearning.

Burning meaning I can't wait to get back and meet with my colleagues and etc. Churning meaning I'm coming back kind of half-heartedly, I don't know if I really want to. And yearning, meaning well, maybe now it'll be different.

So what are they yearning for? So we have to worry about who's leaving. And we have to be concerned about how are we welcoming them back? And what are the questions we should be asking?

Underrated/Overrated with Beverly Kaye

Mike: It comes back to having that conversation again, once again, trying to really understand one another, especially for managers.

So Bev, before we get too far and start to kind of talk a little bit more in detail about, you've given a lot of us a lot of ideas for, how managers can specifically target things they can do. And we want to kind of close it out on that.

But before we do that, we like to play a little game we called underrated, overrated, we're gonna throw some topics at you, and you give us a quick hit if you think that that's underrated, or overrated. And you can tell us a little bit of explanation if you want, or you can tell us to skip that question, if you'd rather.

So are you game to play along with us?

Bev: Sure. Am I allowed to say, call a friend?

Mike: All right, well, let's throw the first one out to you here. Hopefully, you won't need to call a friend on this one.

There's been a movement over the last 10 years or so to move away from the annual performance review to more quarterly performance check-ins, which would feed into what you're talking about a more stay type interview stay type conversations. Do you feel like we've over indexed a little bit though, in that regard, we've gone too far. And we've kind of lost sight of the purpose of the reviews, do you feel like quarterly performance check-ins are underrated or overrated.

Bev: I would say overrated. Because we're not checking on their check-ins, at least the clients I am serving when I ever I asked so how do you know those check-ins are happening? Most say, you know, we don't. Our managers are great managers, you know, we believe they're doing it.

And there's that old saying, you know, people do what's inspected, not always what's expected. So I would say, are you checking in on their check-ins? And are you checking in, not just with a manager with the employee, like when I teach stay interviews, and I say to an organization, it's one thing to teach it, it's another one for you all, to say, are they doing it, and to ask both sides of the equation?

Siobhan: All right, next up, Bev, we've been hearing a lot about different companies that have been offering really huge bonuses or incentive pay to either sign or retain people. Is that underrated or overrated?

Bev: I would say in the long term, overrated. Because what I've been saying to my clients is, never compete on dollars because you'll never win. There's always someone who will pay more. Compete on culture, or you might say, compete on purpose, but I think compete on what it's like to live and work in this environment. A bonus only lasts so long, and then it wears out. So it's impossible to compete on dollars, nowadays. Compete on culture.

And I also say, remind people what they're leaving behind. And I talk about four kinds of equity that you build. Only one is financial, here's what I'm being paid. Another big one is social, I love my colleagues. I've got to start building that all over again. Another is skill. You might move on to use the same skills, but you'll deploy them differently. And another is influence equity, that you've learned how to influence people in your organization. To get what you need you've got to learn that all over again. So it might be you're going for more pay, but what about these other things that you're leaving behind?

Mike: All right, Bev, I want to switch gears a little bit and talk a little bit more about your own personal background here. Because you, as you mentioned about four decades doing a lot of this work, and part of that was actually building up and running a company, Career Systems International, that was really focused on providing a lot of these career advice to companies.

But in this part of your career, you've now transitioned to what you call being a guide on the side and a sage on the stage. And so I want to ask you about being a sage on the stage on video. We've all had to do that over the last couple years. Being a sage on the stage on video, is that underrated or overrated?

Bev: That's a hard one. You know, I would say underrated. Because I think you can be a sage on the stage on Zoom on video. And maybe it's because of more conversations like we're having right now. It is not sage on the stage where I'm going to show 25 great slides. It's sage on the stage where we are interacting like this, and I have to pull from my world of experience and wisdom and not just from this set of slides that I've talked about 400 times.

So maybe what video has done is allowed us to educate in conversation, not in speech. It's a different kind of speech. And it's where the audience sees the real you too. And some thought leaders are not comfortable in that. And maybe it's with age that you get to be comfortable on any stage. I think I'm more me now, than I've ever been.

Siobhan: Well, Bev, you haven't used your lifeline yet. So I'm going to give you one last chance if you need to use it. This final one is writing a book on your own, is that underrated or overrated?

Bev: Big underrated. Of all the books, I only wrote the first one alone. For me, it was hell because I'm an extrovert, and I do my best work in collaboration with others. You know, I'm changing my website now that I'm a solopreneur. And I haven't done it yet, but it's gonna say "Welcome to Bev Kaye's Collaboratory" because collaborating for me, just for me, is my favorite way of thinking.

So if anyone thinks, oh, gee, she's smart. I'm never smart alone. I'm smart in collaboration with others. And I do like to rhyme things and I do like to use mnemonics to remember things. But I get most of my adrenaline, most of it — all of it — from interacting with others.

Final Advice for Managers

Mike: Well, we've got a few minutes left here, and you've been given us a great advice all along the way to kind of point to practical strategies for organizations to take to tackle some of the challenges they are facing with retention and keep holding on and attracting employees. But I want to spend just a few minutes here to talk about that and see if we can get a few more nuggets of advice from you.

So you know, the oft-used phrase that people don't leave jobs, they leave managers. Where does that leave managers right now? We all have limited time. For time crunched managers, what are some things that they should be doing right now to help to combat some of the challenges they're facing with retention? What advice do you have?

Bev: So that is precisely what I've written about in "Love 'Em or Lose 'Em" for the past 20 years. And we interviewed, we followed people enter their new job, holding their exit interview in our hands. And we've said, Why did you really leave? And they said, well, it's not what I wrote on the exit interview, it's this. And all of that we organized according to the alphabet, so that a busy manager could find a quick tip.

But it falls into three big categories. People will leave if they don't feel they're growing. So it's around growth. People will leave if they don't feel they built relationships with you and with others in the organization. And people will leave if the culture is not one in which they feel like they belong.

So engaging and inclusion are dancing partners, and we learned that everything we've said is important to engaging and retaining is part of inclusion and belonging. So it's not rocket science, excuse me, husband. It is specifics. It is saying, "How are you doing?" And if that tear comes, let it come and hang in and find out why.

Siobhan: Bev, I think that is a perfect place to wrap it up. If I walk away from nothing else from this conversation, I'll just think of the power of just asking people, "Are you OK?" and actually listening and acting on what you hear. But if people who are listening to this podcast would like to follow you and find you online, what is the best way to do that?

Bev: I am on LinkedIn. I do have a website, that's just I have a ton of information, and I read my email and try to answer it. And I'm [email protected]. And I've written a lot of books.

Siobhan: With other people, in your collaboratory.

Bev: Yes, in my collaboratory.

Siobhan: Thank you so much, Bev.

Bev: You're welcome. It was fun, fun, fun. Thank you.

Wrap Up and Final Thoughts

Siobhan: Bev is just one of those people who I could not stop a., smiling while she spoke, and b., jotting down notes while she spoke. Mike, how about you?

Mike: Yeah, she's got a gift for the turn of phrase. As we talked about that conversation, the idea, just that one simple phrase of employees being loose in the saddle, it just kind of brings so many things to the surface, and really just kind of puts an image in your head that is really easy to remember. So lots of stuff like that came out of the conversation.

Siobhan: The best thing was when she first said it, I was thinking the meeting was managers who were loose in the saddle, and I just got this like full-on image in my head. And then she explained it. And I'm like, oh, yeah, that makes sense, too. I like that. But I should have been prepared just from the titles of her books.

Mike: Yeah, she definitely has that gift. And one thing that I really appreciated about it, I tried to direct the conversation to technology for a little bit. And she kind of batted it away a little bit. She said, yeah, you know, AI and you know, people are doing cool things with technology to really help managers grapple with some of these challenges when it comes to employee retention.

But the bottom line is, she just kept coming back to that point that it's about conversations. It's about the simple act of asking people how they are and listening to the response to it that is really what is going to make the difference when it comes to people — whether they stay with you or they go.

Siobhan: It's funny, because it actually did make me think of our recent podcast with Derek Belch, where he was training people in the soft skills and making it so that it was safer to explore these soft skills. And I could see where the impulse might be, "Oh, have the AI ask if the person's OK. You know, I'm not really comfortable with these kinds of conversations." But I think that it's an important skill for every manager to get.

Mike: Yeah. Alright, so to take one of Bev's other bon mots from the conversation, it's, I think, time for us to take our elegant exit, wouldn't you agree, Siobhan?

Siobhan: I would have to agree Mike, and then we will make a respectful return in two weeks with the next podcast.

Mike: We'll see you then.

Siobhan: Bye Mike.

Mike: We encourage you to drop us a line at [email protected]. If you have a suggestion or a topic for a future conversation, we are all ears. Additionally, if you like what you hear, please post a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you may be listening. And be sure to share Get Reworked with anyone that you think might benefit from these types of conversations. And then finally, be sure to follow us at Get Reworked on Twitter as well.

Thank you again for exploring the revolution of work with us and we'll see you next time.


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