Stay Interviews

What would it take for you to stay in your job longer? 

Has anyone really ever used the information collected in an exit interview?  Asking an employee why they are leaving is a great idea in theory.  But in reality, exit interviews seem to be a compliance tick on a HR file. 

A better idea, and one that makes a lot of good sense is the concept of conducting “stay interviews”.  

A stay interview is a way for you to gather actionable information about what your employees’ value and what may need to be changed, so your best and brightest stay with you longer. 

With talent retention a major challenge for all of us, asking staff to share what will keep an employee in your business and what will cause them to leave, is a simple and powerful retention strategy.  

The information you gather during the stay interviews will help you to identify any patterns or key issues that if you fix now, will prevent you losing great staff.  

How to conduct stay interviews 

  1. Check: Is there trust and open communication culture in your business? 

Can you handle open and honest feedback from your team? If you do not; have a culture of trust and open communication in your organisation, then stay interviews may not be for your team just yet.  

Unfortunately, when trust and open communication is lacking, stay interviews can give you misleading or unhelpful information.  

Also, if manager finds it difficult to stay objective when hearing other people’s perspectives, then the stay interviews can put you in a conflict situation which would make the activity less beneficial for you and your team. 

If this is something you want to work on, let me know and we can do some executive coaching together to build you leadership capability in this area.  

  1. Start off simply 

Assuming your team communication is good, prepare a couple of questions and start your interviews with your high performers.  If they are excelling in your organisation, by understanding what works for them, it may help you unlock the potential in others. 

Keep the conversation open and positive, you could start off with an opening line something like this: 

Thanks for taking the time to have this discussion. 

As one of our key employees, I want to ask some simple questions that can help me to understand what you enjoy about working here and what would cause you to stay in your current role. 

Then learn why they stay by asking: 

  • What do you look forward to at work every day?
  • What motivates you to stay in the business?
  • What drives you to succeed in your role?         

And then learn why they’d leave by asking: 

  • What do you dread about work every day?
  • What’s missing for you in this job?
  • Is there anything that makes you want to leave? 

Finally, ask “what can I do to make you experience better” and let the employee do all the talking.  

You might need to dust off your old deep listening workshop notes and remember to use the 30/70 rule – you speak 30% of the time while your employee speaks for 70% of the time. 

You are gathering information from another person’s perspective and it will most likely be different to your own. Your goal is to gather valuable information, not judge the answers.  Stay interviews are not the right time to defend yourself or your business against your employee’s perceptions.  

At the end of the interview, you should have an understanding of what drives your employee/s, what engages them in their work, why they stay in business and what might cause them to leave. 

Improving morale through stay interviews 

Using the information you have gathered in your stay interviews, you can correct problems and resolve issues before they become the reason key employees’ leave. 

As your staff see you address their needs and concerns their morale and motivation will improve. 

Stay interviews show that you care about what motivates your staff and that you are serious about improving the work environment. Both huge factors in retaining talent these days. 

When done correctly, stay interviews can have a measurable and positive impact on your employee retention and engagement rates. The key is to use the information that you collect and act on what your employees have to say.  

Until next month, 

Andrea Tunjic

HR Strategy and Leadership Coaching

Our human resources article this month has been contributed by Andrea Tunjic (CAHRI) 

Andrea is an award winning Leadership and Human Resources Strategist.

With a diverse career spanning 25 years in the people management space, Andrea has earned a 360 degree perspective on work. She started out as a union official, has worked as a senior HR manager, lead her own small businesses, consults in all aspects of people leadership and business improvement strategies to organizations throughout Australia and has written a book on the topic called People Power.

She is also the creator of a range of online leadership courses aimed at helping managers become more effective leaders and teams to Vibe Up.  She is also the is the developer of ICoachMe, a self-coaching process

that has been recognised by the International Coaching Federation. Andrea’ s approach to people management is engaging, knowledgeable and practical with an unwavering commitment to empowering staff and leaders to work to their best, resolve problems well and enable them to become happier, more empowered and more successful at work