May 23

Have you thought of conducting a ‘stay’ interview….?

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When you recruit you conduct interviews of a candidate to find out why they want to join. When employees leave, they go through an exit interview to understand why, were there any issues and what could be done better.

But what about those who aren’t at either end of that career journey with you? The job market is super-hot right now which means that it is even more important to check in to see just how contented and motivated your staff really are…

It is really important for companies to start spending the time to understand why employees choose to stay with them. Knowing what keeps people attached to their current workplace and what their motivators are can be invaluable information for making proactive changes to processes or doubling down on what’s already working.

Cue…. the ‘stay’ interview.

So, what exactly is a stay interview?

Stay interviews are a great way of re-engaging employees by identifying:

• what motivates
• what they want from their role and career within the company
• in what areas they think the company and themselves can improve.

Unlike exit interviews, they’re about gathering feedback on any issues or concerns that could impact retention rates before they’ve handed in their resignation.

Crucially, they allow companies to take stock of how their staff are feeling about the business and their careers before it’s too late.

When should you conduct stay interviews?

Stay interviews can be conducted at any time, but there’s the suggestion it’s worthwhile considering the factors likely to contribute to staff turnover and plan them accordingly.

For example:

• periods of change or transition can cause disruption to people’s roles and routines and add new levels of stress and increased frustrations. Communication at these times is key, as is employers understanding the feelings amongst their teams.
• workload fluctuations, whether they increase or decrease, can lead to employees feeling undervalued, unsupported or unmotivated. Understanding how people are coping with their change in workload, how this has impacted them and how they feel about it is important information to get from them.

How should you conduct a stay interview?

Typically, this depends on the make-up of the business, its people and its culture, however, it’s important to be clear on the purpose of the interview beforehand.

They are most successful if they are conversational, informal and conducted in a way that empowers employees to feel they can be transparent, open and honest with their answers. They shouldn’t feel like anything they say will impact negatively upon them.

Meeting somewhere more casual than the usual meeting rooms or offices is a good way of getting the format right, and whichever location is chosen should be far enough away from others in the office so teams can speak freely without being overheard.

Most importantly, listening more than speaking is the key for managers conducting stay interviews, as is displaying empathy and responding to the feedback where appropriate.

What sort of questions should be asked?

When it comes to gathering feedback, questions similar to the following are a great way to find out just how engaged and motivated employees are in their roles:

• What motivates you to log on/turn up every day?
• How are you feeling in your role? Can you see a clear progression path for you?
• Do you feel your efforts are properly recognised?
• What are your long-term career goals?
• What are the challenges you face which prevent you from reaching your potential? How can the business help alleviate these challenges?
• Are you able to find a positive work/life balance? If not, how can we help?
• What would make you want to leave?

Through asking honest and transparent questions like these, employers build trust and engagement with their teams, enhance their existing culture and successfully identify and manage recurring issues.

What happens next?

Following up on the feedback in the right way is the key to making stay interviews an effective employee retention tool.

The one-size-fits-all approach no longer works as each employee has their own individual values, motivators, and stresses so tailoring the response correctly is crucial. Companies should use the information to address and adjust their engagement and retention strategies as well as their teams’ individual career plans.

If they do, they should find their employees are more engaged, more supported and more productive.

For any advice do email nicola.goodridge@goodhr.co.uk or call +44 07917 878384