Stay interviews – a necessity for employee retention


The Great Resignation is far from over. Some recruiters and HR professionals believe the situation is only intensifying with a larger wave of quits slated for the New Year. If you want to avoid losing your top talent, now is the time to give your retention efforts a boost.

While there are a number of retention strategies worth using, maintenance interviews are highly worth considering. Living interviews are increasingly popular as a way for employers to contact their employees directly to understand why they may be considering seeking employment elsewhere.

If you’re ready to tackle your staff turnover problem with this trendy and straightforward retention tactic, take a moment to learn more about retention interviews and how to conduct them.

What is a stay interview?

A stay interview is similar to an exit interview, except you don’t wait until they are already halfway through the door to ask the important questions.

A stay interview is usually conducted by the employee’s direct manager and is an opportunity to gather feedback on issues that would impact employee retention. The questions are usually about what they like and dislike about their current job and what might influence each employee’s decision to stay or leave the company.

An effective stay interview will be employee-tailored and serve as a measure of employee engagement while soliciting actionable feedback that management can use to help prevent employee turnover.

Who should receive residence interviews?

Stay interviews can be used to learn more about the experience of employees in all professional roles. Your first priority when coordinating stay interviews should be your best performers. Identify your current top performing employees in each department and ask department managers to schedule stay interviews.

Focus on team members who have been with the company for a while. New hires should always be included in employee engagement efforts, but they may be better suited for 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day check-ins rather than maintenance interviews. Stay interviews will give employees the most valuable feedback from team members who have fully settled into their roles.

Your best employees are the ones who will be the hardest to replace. It is also worth identifying employees with highly desirable skills or in positions where they are likely to be unearthed by competitors. If they’re able to receive LinkedIn messages from recruiters at other companies, it’s worth considering whether you meet the employee’s needs and what factors might cause them to accept an offer elsewhere.

It’s also a good idea to have some diversity in your employee comment pool. Interview people from different backgrounds, education levels, seniority levels, etc. Consider what factors can change the employee experience for them. For example, working parents may have different comments about work-life balance, hours, and benefits than those who don’t have children. Try to gather a variety of opinions to better understand and resolve any issues that may impact employee morale.

When to conduct residence interviews

Stay interviews can be conducted at any time. Some companies do them throughout the year, as work pressures and employee satisfaction can fluctuate throughout the year. However, it is a good idea to consider the factors that may be contributing to an increase in employee turnover or disengagement and to plan stay interviews accordingly. You may want to schedule stay interviews during:

  • Periods of change. Employees tend to be sensitive to change, even positive change. This disrupts their work routines and can cause stress, frustration and worries about job security. This is a crucial time to open the lines of communication with your team members and ensure that no one is ready to step off the ship in the midst of a transition.

  • Very stressful seasons. Employees can feel overwhelmed or underutilized depending on fluctuations in business demand throughout the year. Try to check in with them during busy seasons to make sure they feel supported enough and aren’t suffering from burnout. It can also be useful to register during off-season, as you are likely to receive different comments.

  • Fluctuations in the labor market. Are major changes taking place in the labor market or in the economy? If so, your employees are also aware of it. We are currently in a market of job seekers. Employers find it difficult to fill positions, so job seekers are able to negotiate more harshly for compensation, connection bonuses, remote work options, etc. On the other hand, if unemployment rises, employees may start to worry about their own job security.

  • At the end of the year. An increase in turnover is expected by 2022, but the end of the year will likely still be a good time to conduct residence interviews, even in the less hectic years. The end of the year is a time for employers and employees to reflect on the previous year. Employees also tend to wait until after the holidays to look for a new job, so year-end interviews can allow you to re-engage employees before they make New Year’s resolutions to find a new job.

  • At all times, employee morale seems to be dropping. If you notice a change in employee morale, take action to fix the issues quickly. Stay interviews are informal and don’t need to be conducted on a set schedule, so feel free to schedule them whenever an employee engagement issue arises. Sometimes you may notice a change in morale in just one employee or department, but it’s always a good idea to anticipate the problem and schedule stay interviews as soon as you see an area of ​​concern.

Job interviews aren’t the only times you should learn about employees or touch on topics like job satisfaction, career goals, or compensation. Managers are also likely to explore these or similar topics during employee review season. However, it is important that stay interviews remain separate from performance reviews.

Try to space the living interviews away from the formal exams. If you have to take them closely, do the revisions first. The appraisal season is just as stressful for employees as it is for managers and human resources professionals.

How to conduct a stay interview

When planning and conducting a home interview, it is imperative to set the right tone. Stay interviews should be informal and conversational. Managers need to be clear about the purpose of the interview and make sure employees know they can speak freely and honestly without negatively impacting their employment status.

Try to choose a setting for the interview that will not be intimidating. If they are only called into the manager’s office on serious matters, consider holding the interview in a more relaxed location. Choose a setting that is private enough so that the employee can speak freely without being overheard by co-workers, but that is warm and inviting so that they don’t feel distressed or be evaluated. Consider an empty conference room, office, or even a cafe nearby.

Managers should strive to establish an ongoing relationship of trust with their staff. During the stay interview, managers must build confidence by expressing themselves in an authentic and vulnerable way. Although referred to as interviews, these meetings should be more of a two-way conversation. Managers should be empathetic and responsive to feedback provided by the employee and also share their own thoughts, where appropriate. Managers should not speak above employees or be argumentative, but they can express their own feelings or experiences in a meaningful way, for example recognizing that it was difficult to maintain work-life balance during a recent busy period.

Examples of stay interview questions

Here is a list of some questions to include in your stay interviews. Of course, these interviews are meant to be conversational in nature, so treat your list of questions as a guide rather than a script. Be flexible and ask follow-up questions based on each employee’s responses.

Try these questions on your next round of stay interviews:

  • What do you look forward to the most at the start of your working day / week?

  • What do you like most about your current role?

  • What more would you like to do in your role?

  • What would you like to do less of?

  • What would you like to learn?

  • Do you see a future in this business?

  • What do you think of the current corporate culture?

  • What would be your ideal role?

  • Do you feel that your work and your efforts are properly recognized?

  • Do you like to be recognized for your work?

  • How can management better support you?

  • How could the company better help you in your professional development?

  • What talents do you have that you think are not being used?

  • Do you find your job fulfilling?

  • How would you rate your current work-life balance?

  • Have there been any recent “bad days” or frustrations that made you consider leaving the company?

  • What would make you leave the company?

Select the ones that you think are the most applicable. Also add any company-specific or topical topics that you want employees to receive feedback on. If you haven’t conducted any stay interviews in the past two years, you can include questions about what they think about the way the company has handled the pandemic or the impact of the work options. at a permanent distance on their choice to stay.

Follow-up of interviews after stay

Conducting guest reviews is only effective as a retention strategy if you follow the feedback you receive.

Stay interviews generate feedback that can be used to guide your overall employee engagement strategy. However, generalized feedback can also be collected through your standard engagement survey. What makes stay interviews particularly valuable is the ability to create individualized action plans to retain your valued employees.

You now know what is important to each person and need to adapt your approach accordingly. An employee can be motivated to stay through better professional development opportunities and recognition. Meanwhile, another employee may find improving their work-life balance the most motivating factor. Don’t try to find a one-size-fits-all approach, as stay interviews are all about delving into individual preferences, thoughts, and behaviors.


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