Five Strategies for Conducting Stay Interviews

Two business women in a conversation

Stay interviews are conversations between employers and employees about how jobs might be improved. Exit interviews are usually conducted when employees have decided to leave a company, but stay interviews occur when organizations realize that employees are considering leaving. The purpose of stay interviews is for leaders to learn what their employees like and don’t like about their organization, how it could be improved, and why they might want to leave. To help companies keep their top talent from jumping ship, here are five tips for conducting an effective stay interview.

Understand the “Why”

If an employee seems to be looking for a way out, try to identify what’s causing the frustration and remedy it. For example, if an employee wants more challenging work or more money, address the root cause of their desire to move on. This can be especially important if you’re in a position of power and can change things. If you don’t address these reasons, chances are good that another employer will find a way to fulfill whatever your employee is looking for and make the company a great place to work.

When an employee might be thinking about leaving the company or shows signs of dissatisfaction—taking more time off than usual, being reluctant to commit to long-term projects, or avoiding work social events—try to get an answer as soon as possible. This allows you to resolve issues upfront and have an open discussion with the employee by bringing in HR and management. Work with the employee who is looking to leave to find a solution that will help them stay—it might be as simple as offering them more challenging work or adjusting their schedule so they can have more time outside of work.

Be Personal

Stay interviews should focus on getting to know the employee as a whole person, not just their work. The conversation is an opportunity to show that you are invested in supporting your employees’ professional and personal growth. By taking this approach, you’re looking for ways to help them perform better as employees and individuals.

To start a conversation off on the right foot:

1. Ask open-ended questions about their personal and professional goals, values, or what they look for in a leader or colleague.
2. Start with general questions about careers or values.
3. Branch out into other topics—such as education and hobbies—if the conversation goes well.

By asking questions beyond their job performance, you’re setting yourself up for success by learning more about them as a whole person. This will help you understand how they can grow professionally, but it will also give you valuable insight into what’s important to them—and how you can support that growth both at work and outside of it. You’ll be able to see where they want to take their career and what steps they need to take on the road to achieving those goals. You’ll be able to see how you can help them perform better as an employee and as a person.

Be Consistent and Transparent

Stay interviews are all about being consistent and transparent. Managers can schedule monthly or quarterly meetings with employees to hear their perspectives and ideas. In these meetings, employees can open up about how they feel about the company and how it can be improved. This is an excellent opportunity for workers to express their thoughts on improving the work environment or company culture: it gives employees a voice in their company. It helps managers understand their teams’ needs and make adjustments as needed.

Letting employees know that their opinions have been considered and acted upon when appropriate is a great way to empower them to take the initiative and make things happen independently. For example, suppose an employee gives you feedback about how they’d like more opportunities to contribute creatively at work. Let them know that other departments are working on projects where they could apply those skills. This will make employees feel valued within the company and likely increase their loyalty towards staying there.

Have Regular Check-ins

Weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly 1:1 meetings with your employees is an essential piece for keeping open lines of communication with employees and making feedback a regular part of work life. These are informal conversations with employees that you schedule regularly—at least once a month—to gather feedback about your organization and its work environment. They also allow you to understand your employees’ challenges and will enable you to respond accordingly.

Regular check-ins are a great way for getting feedback on your company’s culture from your employees. You can ask questions about the organization’s mission and values, how people feel about their jobs, and what they think could be improved. You can use the answers to improve your company’s culture, keep employees motivated and engaged, and create an atmosphere where people feel empowered to do their best work.

Be Mindful of the Timing

Be mindful of the timing and location of the stay interview. A mutually comfortable location, away from distractions and with plenty of privacy. This can help build an atmosphere where people are less likely to feel guarded and more comfortable giving honest answers about how they are doing, yielding more honest and genuine responses.

Stay interviews are a way for companies to be proactive about what their employees want and a way for them to figure out ways to improve retention. Stay interviews offer employees an opportunity to voice concerns and provide feedback on how things could be improved. The best way to have successful stay interviews is to be personable and consistent. You should also find out why your employees feel the way they do about certain aspects of their position and then organize pulse interviews. You also need to be aware of your work environment, as it might help you conduct stay interviews.

About EG Workforce Solutions

We’ve been in this business for decades and have developed a deep network of professional connections. Whether they’re companies looking for talent, job seekers looking for work, or an up-and-coming store in need of some temporary help, we know the right people to bridge the gap between the hiring and the hired.

But what’s more, we get to know people. From employers hiring to candidates looking, we take the time to listen and learn. We hear your likes, talents, and needs. We gain an understanding, and with it, we’re able to facilitate lasting relationships between businesses and people.

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