BRKeenan & Associates, LLC

Keep What You Hire – 12 Core Questions

Keep What Your Hire #11

In my last post, I outlined how to improve your hiring practices.  Over the next few weeks, I will lean extensively on Gallup’s excellent research as presented in First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Buckingham and Coffman (1999).   From their research, twelve core questions emerge which give an organization the ability to attract and retain talented employees. The core questions are:


Foundation – If these two questions are not addressed, nothing else matters.  In short, the foundation is: what does the employee get?

**1.      Do I know what is expected of me at work?
**2.      Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?


Contribution – An employee who believes he or she is contributing will continue invest in and help grow your business.  In other words, what does the employee give in return?

**3.      At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4.      In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
**5.      Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6.      Is there someone at work who encourages my development?


Acceptance – Does the employee believe he or she belongs, is part of the corporate family?  Another critical dimension of retaining employees.

**7.   At work, do my opinions count?
8.    Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9.    Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10.  Do I have a best friend at work?



Growth – Does the employee believe he or she will grow into something larger/better?

  1. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  2. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Of these 12 questions, five questions with double stars (**) are highly correlated with retention.  If you want to keep your key employees, focus first on 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7.  Obviously, all 12 questions are important, but triage the double stars first.

Brett R. Keenan is a CFO/General Counsel for Small Businesses, Business and Executive Coach, and author of “Small Business 101: From Start-up to Success”.  Based in Chicago IL, BRKeenan & Associates has helped numerous large and small companies succeed, focusing on Finance, Law, Strategy and Operations since 1999.

©BRKeenan & Associates, LLC. February 2015