Wait, Don’t Let Your Best Employees Walk Out the Door — Try Stay Interviews

July 22, 2014 Deanna Hartley

 

Wait, Don’t Let Your Best Employees Walk Out the Door — Try Stay Interviews

Wait, Don’t Let Your Best Employees Walk Out the Door — Try Stay InterviewsWant to attempt a feat that even Robin Thicke, Kris Humphries and Lamar Odom couldn’t pull off? Don’t let that special someone (in your organization) walk out the door and break your heart wallet. While Thicke tried — and failed miserably — to win back his wife Paula Patton, we’d suggest something other than groveling (and pathetic music): stay interviews.

What are stay interviews, exactly?

The first thing to understand about a stay interview is that it isn’t synonymous with an exit interview. Whereas an exit interview is typically conducted after an employee has announced his or her resignation, a stay interview is a proactive step you can take to avoid a resignation from ever happening.

 

Here is ERE’s definition of the term:

A “stay interview” is a periodic one-on-one structured retention interview between a manager and a highly valued “at-risk-of-leaving employee” that identifies and then reinforces the factors that drive an employee to stay. It also identifies and minimizes any “triggers” that might cause them to consider quitting.

And this is how it was described on Forbes:

[A stay interview is] an informal review in which the manager and staff member sit down to discuss progress, ideas and the feedback both parties may have for each other. Ideally, the manager will do more listening than talking. Companies that use this process are finding that it helps to reduce turnover by a significant percent.

Questions to ask during a stay interview:

  • What do you enjoy most about this job? What factors make you want to stay?
  • What is the type of impact you are looking to have while working here? Do you feel as though you are making a difference in the organization and beyond?
  • Are you receiving the regular feedback you need to do your job well? Do you feel as though you are being fairly recognized for your contributions here?
  • What specifically would you want to change about your current role, if given the chance? How would you want to widen your professional horizons here?
  • Do you feel like you have sufficient autonomy over when, how and where you work? How could we improve your work-life balance?

3 reasons to give stay interviews a try:

1) It pinpoints specific areas where you as a manager can improve. Stay interviews offer top employees the opportunity to candidly discuss and assess what’s working and what’s not. In turn, these insights can help you spot cracks and set the ship back on course. Sometimes an independent or third-party perspective is helpful because it points out organizational or management flaws that will otherwise go unnoticed and potentially cause damage.

2) It shows you what REALLY matters to your top talent. Granted the answer may vary from one A-player to another, but there is still value in asking what truly matters to them. You can then start to detect patterns — for instance, if you notice a handful of individuals seeking better work-life balance than is currently offered, you might look into flex-time. If many of them seem to be complaining about poor compensation, it might be time to revisit your compensation and benefits policies to ensure they are competitive.

3) It can boost engagement and reduce the likelihood of turnover. Your star employees may be grappling with issues that, unbeknownst to you, are making them consider greener work pastures. Wouldn’t you rather know about it *before* they give you their two weeks notice? Aside from losing a talented worker, it can save you the time, money and hassle of finding a worthy replacement.

 

Tweet us @CBforEmployers: Have you used stay interviews at your organization, and if so how have you found them to be useful? For those who haven’t, what are you skeptical of?

 

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