Stay Interviews- what are they and how can they help retain talent?

When was the last time you interviewed your employees to learn about their career aspirations and why they work at your company?

If it was way back when you hired the person then it might be time to think about conducting “stay interviews” with your team.

A stay interview is an opportunity to ask for employee feedback to learn more about their experience with the organization, what keeps them motivated and engaged (or not!).

Conducting a stay interview can be a daunting prospect – but it doesn’t need to become an invite for employees to complain if its handled thoughtfully and with respect. Employees need to know their opinions matter and that employers will try to make improvements based on the feedback.

It may take time to earn the respect and trust needed to ensure that employees open up about deeper issues that they have hesitated to bring up before. Over time, if you can demonstrate that you really do want to hear the good, the bad and the ugly you will earn that trust!

It can also be a way to start a conversation with an under-performer about any skill development or tools they need to perform at a higher level.

Here are some tips to make the most out of a stay interview.

  • Make it important and schedule it outside of your regular check ins or performance reviews.
  • But, keep it light and informal too. Let the employee know the discussion is about how their job is going, how they enjoy working at the company and what you can do to support them – it’s a time to listen.
  • Keep the conversation going – Don’t shut down the employee if they bring up something you disagree with or potentially don’t have the budget for.
  • Thank the person for taking the time to speak with you. Set expectations that this is an opportunity to listen but not every suggestion can be acted on.
  • Identify any issues that were brought up multiple times – be creative in solving for issues such as requests for training that might not be in the budget. Maybe you could launch a mentorship program where newer employees can learn from more experienced co-workers.
  • Follow up is critical.  Let your team know if any desired changes could or couldn’t be made and why.

Stay interviews help your employees understand that you recognize and appreciate them and are taking an active role in their professional development. They also help you discover any “at risk” employees who might feel like they have plateaued in their current position.

Replacing your best employees can be time-consuming and costly. Stay interviews are a solid strategy to help you retain your business’s top performers.

BlueFire HR can create custom training and guidance in conducting Stay Interview strategies designed to meet your business needs. Reach out today and see how we can help! For more information, please contact us at, 773-793-1362 or at 888-892-9597.

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