Businesses are emerging from the pandemic with a heightened focus on digitization adoption and AI. Because of this focus, organizations are also reimagining human roles. If you’re starting a job search, the position you’re interviewing for may look dramatically different next year.
You can’t ask outright if the job your pitching will exist in the future. What you can ask about are the organization’s employee retention strategies. When you know a company’s retention strategies and processes, you can gauge how invested they are in keeping and growing their workforce. In many cases, you’ll get the best information from asking indirect questions.
To get a clear understanding of the compatibility of your career drivers with an employer’s practices, build employee retention questions into your interview. Asking these questions and listening objectively to the answers helps you align your personal goals and priorities with a company’s actual practices. Get it right, and you’ll go to work every day energized, productive, creative, and happy.
These five practices are worth inquiring about and will tell you a lot about an organization’s investment in employee growth and retention.
ASK About: Learning & Professional Development
Asking how an organization prioritizes professional development and is planning for upskilling programs tells you how committed a company is to employee retention.
A comfortable way into this topic is to ask specific questions about how learning and professional development integrates into team meetings and daily work.
Introducing this topic leads to a two-way conversation and allows you to articulate your values, skills, and willingness to develop the capabilities of others.
ASK About: Mentoring
On average, companies that prioritize mentoring programs have a 25% higher employee retention rate than organizations without mentoring programs.
An active mentoring program is an indicator of an organization’s interest in developing talent and maintaining a robust culture. Mentoring programs come in many forms. Some organizations have formal programs. Others rely on a “mentoring in the moment” approach encouraging daily feedback in real-time.
Both offer benefits. What’s important here is that the organization views mentoring as a non-negotiable practice. If no mentoring opportunities exist, ask about other avenues for peer-to-peer interaction and learning.
Ask About: Values in Practice
Many organizations have a values statement. Far fewer translate their values into daily behaviors and practices. Values that have practical applications drive culture, set behavioral expectations and connect daily work with a larger purpose.
When you’re interviewing, ask how an organization’s values come into play in everyday situations.
How are your values reflected in everyday activities?
How are your values brought in when there is conflict?
How are values employed in decision-making?
What are the behavioral expectations for staff to uphold the values?
Ask About: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Many organizations have been reflecting on their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) practices. These are complex and necessary conversations.
Organizations focused on DEI initiatives signal jobseekers that they value the input and ideas of every team member.
To better understand an organization’s approach, first ask how the organization defines DEI, then how it translates into daily work routines. Joining an organization that is in the process of shaping its DEI initiatives may offer an opportunity to become part of this critical conversation.
To get a well-rounded picture, have discussions with current employees and HR representatives.
Ask About: Space for Ideas
Organizations that create the right conditions for idea generation and sharing build interpersonal trust faster. The process begins with having a clear organizational vision and goals to work towards and then giving employees the latitude and autonomy to craft their roles to achieve those goals.
In practice, this looks like ideation meetings where all voices are recognized and ample opportunities for employees to connect both personally and professionally. Use Google’s model for idea generation to formulate questions about collaboration.
Looking for a job can be stressful.
Asking indirect questions about an organization’s employee engagement and retention practices will help you find the right next job and stay in it longer.
Thanks for reading!
If you’re not on the list and would like to be,
Sign up here >
You’ll get advice about career and leadership the first Tuesday of every month
If there is a topic you want to explore,
let me know >
You can also check out Forbes.com/CFO blog where I write about communicating with and motivating teams.