Are you ready for a Reverse Keeper Test?

The inspiring book “Powerful” by Patty McCord, former CHRO of Netflix, is full of tips and tricks on how to manage people effectively nowdays. The keeper test is one of them. As simple as powerful for managers! What if we reverse it… on employee’s side.

(3′ reading)

The original Keeper Test

Imagine that, as a manager, for each of your team members, you ask yourself: “How hard would I fight to keep him.her from leaving the company?”

Answering that question helps you to focus on the actual value of each person in your team: critical knowledge, client history, interpersonal facilitation, terrific ideas, business network, mood enhancer, incredible afterwork playlists… and an infinity of other wonders an employee may carry.

Once done, you get a clearer view of what you should do in order to keep the best ones in your team… and hopefully how to develop or reposition others.

Now, what if an employee plays a keeper test regarding his.her manager or company?

How about reversing it

Most companies have now integrated attrition rate as a key performance indicator for their managers. It appears to be a “too late” reverse keeper test: the damage is already done. Employee has left the team…

So, could we anticipate it by finding a way to evaluate how employees are perceiving and appreciating the way they are managed at both individual and collective levels. In other words: “How do they fight to keep their current manager?” 😉

It first reminds me of a collective feedback approach (e.g. 360 feedback), when an employee (as well as peers, managers and others relevant stakeholders) is questioned about his.her manager posture and style. The employee is often invited to detail some ways of improvement for his.her manager. If followed by action plan and actual improvements, the employee would be more likely to keep his manager.

There are also more and more solutions to monitor employee’s well-being and engagement. Most of them include managerial practices and corporate culture evaluation as it is one key element of well-being at work. It represents a massive reverse keeper test for employees regarding the management.

Some company such as Gore-Tex go far beyond that, letting their employees (specially the new comers) experimenting with several teams and managers before electing the one they feel at their best with.

Challenging your Employee Value Proposition…

An employee can even reverse the keeper test by asking him.herself: “How hard would I fight for keeping my current position if another company offers me a very attractive job?”

Answering this question leads to measure how the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) of one’s company is matching employees real expectations: interest of the job, material conditions and equipment, career  opportunities, working space, learning policy, well-being and work ambiance, compensation & benefits, management style, harmony with corporate values and culture, mission and vision of the company, etc.

I hope that all the talents in your company would undoubtedly say: “Yes, I stay!”

If your are not sure, go for an employee survey…


Have you ever tried or implemented the keeper test (the standard one…)? Any feedback to share?


Image: Duncan Andison

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