Basically, if you take the time to have a stay interview with your staff—meaning asking them targeted questions to figure out what would keep them—you'll never have to worry about replacing them. This is meant to be an ongoing conversation and not a once a year performance review. You really need to connect with your staff and be willing to ask the tough questions, even the ones that you many not be able to fix (e.g., you can't give them a 10% raise).
The ladies do give recommendations of how to deal with those tough questions, but you won't even get that far unless you first gain your staff's trust. Think about it. If a boss who doesn't give you the time of day suddenly asks if you're happy and/or schedules time to ask weird questions, you may get worried. They share an incident similar to the one I've described where an employee actually thought she was being let go when her boss asked what he thought was a "stay" question.
Here are some great questions to try, once you've eased your way into this and scheduled uninterrupted time.
- What will keep you here? What will entice you away?
- What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
- What makes you hit the snooze button?
- If you were to win the lottery and resign, what would you miss most about your job?
- What do you want to learn this year?
- Does work give you back as much as it takes out of you?
Have you ever had a stay interview? If not, how would it make you feel?