Ep 106 – Candid Conversations About Employee Retention

employee retention, employee satisfaction, turnover

According to Fortune Magazine, employee retention is the biggest priority for business leaders this year. A research study by Workplace and Kronos found that 87% of employers said that improving retention is a critical priority for their organization. The topic of employee retention is likely being discussed in the boardroom frequently. You’ve had with members of your leadership team, but the question is what’s the best way to increase retention and reduce turnover.

Episode 106: Candid Conversations About Employee Retention with Jeff Kortes (@jeffkortes)

Jeff Kortes has a very diverse background in HR having worked in a practitioner capacity in various roles and industries but also in his work as a headhunter talking with candidates who are actively looking for new job opportunities. Both these experiences have provided him valuable insights into what works when it comes to employee retention programs and strategies. Jeff says that employee retention is simple but by no means easy. His advice for his clients and for podcast listeners is to focus on the fundamentals. He says to stay consistent and don’t jump from program to program. It muddies up your efforts because there are so many things happening.

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Jeff has a simple acronym when it comes to the foundations of employee retention that resonates not just with HR and recruiting practitioners but also managers. It’s his C.R.A.P. philosophy. During his workshops, he gives his leaders permission to give their employees CRAP but not in the way you might think. The C.R.A.P. acronym stands for Caring, Respect, Appreciation and Praise. These four pillars are the key to any good employee retention strategy.

Employee Engagement, Exit Interviews and the C.R.A.P. Philosophy

Jeff tells us in this episode of the podcast, the most important thing that leaders and employees can learn from C.R.A.P. is to give themselves and those around them the permission to have fun. He says that we take ourselves too seriously at work which is why the acronym works. It’s hard for C.R.A.P. to not bring a smile to your face. Relationships and engagement starting with organizational leaders of all levels are the key to any success employee engagement program. You don’t have to spend thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants, surveys or fancy employee benefit programs. With C.R.A.P., you just focus on the employee engagement basics.

One of Jeff’s more interesting recommendations which we discuss in length on the podcast is his philosophy and recommendation when it comes to exit interviews. He encourages companies to wait 30 days, 60 days or even 6 months to talk to employees who have exited the organization. He says only after they have some closure and distance will those employees give you the real story as to why they left and provide you with valuable feedback. Jeff’s stance on exit interviews intrigued me since it is different than the exit interview forms and even online surveys I have used in the past. He goes so far even to suggest not using standard questions. It’s the best way to get employees to share, tell the whole story and give you unsolicited and honest feedback.

I’ve included a link to Jeff blog that discusses his recommended exit interview process. You can access them along with other articles and research in the recommended resources section below in this transcript.

Connect with Jeff Kortes on LinkedIn.


– Short and Long-Term Fixes to Your Employee Retention Rate

– 2017 Is the Year of Employee Retention

– Are Exit Interviews Worthless?

– Start Small with Your Employee Retention Strategy

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*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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