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The Power of Connection

Hello friends! I don't know about you but I am ready for some sunshine! Soon I will be heading back to Italy to see family and I am very excited. The connection with my family runs deep and the time we have together energizes and grounds me at the same time. I am blessed to be living my dream to be with family and do what I love, working from anywhere at any time. Anticipating my upcoming trip and the connections I have there led me to think more about the power of connection.

Last week I spent quality time with a friend who is a ray of sunshine and a creative, soulful human. It had been several months since we last saw each other and seeing her face was a like a breath of fresh air. As she sat in front of me with her warm smile I asked “How are you?” Her response was quick, “I’m great! So good to see you!” Then I asked again, “Really, how are you?” I then saw her facial expression change, her head bowed down slightly, and she got real with me. She said, “The last few months have been challenging…” It was a special moment of connection when she had the safe space to share and then to move through it, with my support, to her natural positive place. Isn’t it amazing that the simple yet deeply genuine question of “how are you” can open up communication and connection? We ask people "how are you?" all the time, yet it's remarkable what happens when it's a REAL question!

“Connection is the energy that exists between people

when they feel seen, heard, and valued.” – Brene Brown

It’s incredible to experience the power of that human connection at work. When people feel understood and really seen, the level of trust and desire to go above and beyond soars. I can think of times in my life when a leader connected with me in this genuine way – and my loyalty and desire to excel grew and grew because I felt their authentic care and interest in me as a person. My trust in them grew and it influenced my desire and commitment to STAY, to continue to work with that leader and that company. Relationships are relationships, right? Having that feeling of being cared about, that YOU MATTER, is part of wellbeing and thriving. At home and at work.

Connection leads to trust, higher performance and

employees who want to stay.

How can you connect and find out more about your employee’s experience working for you?

I’d like to introduce you to one approach called the Stay Conversation. I have used this approach with multiple organizations and leaders and have seen positive results. I recall a leader who was struggling with how to motivate and retain her team. She began to have Stay Conversations every six months regularly over several years. She was so consistent with it that her employees looked forward to the conversations with her. She always learned new insights and ways to motivate her team – and most of the time they did not even cost any money! Her team members stayed with her and became one of the highest performing teams in the company.

The Stay Conversation

What is a stay conversation (also called a Stay Interview)? Some of you might know the concept of an exit interview, which is when a leader has a meeting with an employee after they resigned to ask questions about their experience in order to gain insights for the next hire. Why wait until someone is leaving and out the door? With the stay conversation, you ask questions to your people while they still work with you.

Stay conversations help leaders understand why employees stay and what might cause them to leave. In an effective stay conversation, leaders ask several questions in a casual and conversational manner – and focus on genuinely listening, hearing and seeing the person. Most stay conversations take less than half an hour. Important tips before you begin:

  • Create a psychologically safe environment and trusting space for employee to share. Listen more than you talk. Avoid commenting or disagreeing with any negative statements. This includes facial expressions or any other non-verbal reactions.

  • Meet one on one with each employee privately, once per year or every 6 months. If you are concerned that an employee is a flight risk, do it right away.

  • Time it separately from any performance reviews so employees don’t correlate their comments with potential review implications.

How to Conduct a Stay Conversation

To open, a leader may use the following (or similar) statements:

I would like to talk with you about the reasons you stay with [Company Name] so I understand what I might be able to do to make this a great place to work for you.

I’d like to have an informal talk with you to find out how the job is going so I can do my best to support you as your manager, particularly with issues within my control.


The following are questions you may ask. You should have several open-ended questions on hand. It’s important to listen and gather ideas from the employee about how you and your organization can retain him or her.

1. What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?

2. What do you like most about working here? When do you feel the most joy?

3. What do you like least about working here?

4. What keeps you working here?

5. If you could change something about your job, what would that be?

6. What would make your job more satisfying, fulfilling or meaningful?

7. How do you like to be recognized?

8. What talents are not being used in your current role?

9. What would you like to learn here?

10. What motivates (or demotivates) you?

11. What can I do to best support you?

12. What can I do more of or less of as your manager?

13. What might tempt you to leave?

To close the conversation, summarize the key reasons the employee gave for staying or potentially leaving the organization. If there appears to be potential risk the employee is considering leaving, work with the employee to develop a stay plan. Be sure to end on a positive note.

Examples of closing statements include:

  • Let me summarize what I heard you say about the reasons you stay at [Company Name] as well as reasons you might leave. Then, let’s develop a plan to make this a great place for you to work.

  • I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me today. I am committed to doing what I can to make this a great place for you to work.

I invite you to try the stay conversation and would love to hear about your experience! Feel free to reach out to me to share your story or to request the stay conversation template.

I wish you prosperity and joy in work and life – and helping your employees with the same.

In joy and gratitude,


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