Stay Interviews – A Solution for Helping Retain Your Employees
Updated: Sep 18
Co-authored by Olivia Massey and Jennifer Massey
Exit interviews tell you what employees needed after they have decided to leave your organization. While this type of information is valuable, what if there was a tool to learn what your employees need before they even consider leaving? Well, this tool exists. It is known as a “stay” interview and it is key to helping you retain your employees.
What are “stay” interviews? They are interviews with a series of developed questions that gather insight on your employees’ “why”. Why they stay with your organization and why they might consider leaving. According to the Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report, 78% of the reasons employees quit their jobs could have been prevented by their employer. Using the data from stay interviews will give you the opportunity to learn what needs to be improved, how you can make the employee experience in your organization better, and what interventions, programs and/or changes are needed in order to retain your employees. In other words, learn what you can from your employees and prevent them from leaving all together.
Here are some tips for conducting stay interviews:
1. Conduct a stay interview with every employee. All employees should have a stay interview, no matter their role or status in your organization. This allows every individual to feel valued, to provide feedback and to have an opportunity to be heard.
2. Make stay interviews part of the onboarding process and conduct them at the start of each calendar year. Be sure to build the stay interview into your onboarding process for all new hires. You will capture fresh perspectives when employees first join your team, and it will provide invaluable insights about your recruitment, pre-hire, onboarding, and initial training processes. Insights critical to starting the relationship off right and that some of your long-term staff have long forgotten. Also, conduct stay interviews with all employees at the beginning of each calendar year. The message - your employees’ opinions are the most important initiative. It also positions you to be able to implement and make the necessary changes throughout the remainder of the year.
3. Do not discuss the employee’s performance during the stay interview. Performance related discussions should not be part of the conversation during the stay interview. The stay interview is about what the employer can improve upon, not what the employee can improve on. If a performance evaluation or discussion is needed this should be scheduled for a different time. You want the stay interview to be comfortable and open, so the employee will feel safe to share feedback.
As we come out of the pandemic, recruitment is the biggest hurdle for many organizations. So why not reduce the need to recruit if you can? Implement stay interviews, consider your employees’ feedback, and make the changes that will help you retain your employees. Every organization should be making employees their top priority and implementing a solid stay interview process will allow you to be one step closer to this goal.