If you’ve ever had a high performing employee turn in their resignation to go work for your competitor, you know it’s frustrating — but do you know how to prevent it from happening again? Let’s talk about how to launch an employee retention program that actually works.

Despite popular belief, money isn’t always the reason people change jobs. People change jobs because they’ve encountered a pain point. Here are a few examples I’ve heard over the years:

  • Driving over 25 minutes to get to work or to get home from work.
  • Working on the same type of projects for more than a year.
  • Using the same technologies in the market over and over every day.
  • Lack of promotion and increased responsibilities for more than two years.

To know what pain points your employees might already be experiencing, ask them a few questions:

  • What is the next step in your career?
  • What kind of mentorship do you receive?
  • How exciting are the projects you’re working on?
  • What do you look forward to the most about your workday?
  • What different technologies do you get to explore?
  • Do you get opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills?

Have these conversations and ask these questions — before your competitor does.

What’s even more important than asking these questions is listening to the responses. Try to really understand what motivates each person, whether it be advancement opportunities, recognition, the ability to learn and grow, or being involved in challenging and exciting projects. Once you uncover their pain, you can refine a retention program to address challenges specific to your organization.

Have these conversations and ask these questions — before your competitor does. Try to understand what your employees need in order to stay motivated, to feel recognized and to grow in your company. Encourage your managers to talk to their teams, and coach them on how to uncover an employee’s motivations, desires and, yes, even their pain. These conversations may not be easy — but they’re easier than replacing experienced drillers.