Workers back ‘retention talks’ as employers try to retain staff

NEARLY nine in 10 workers support the introduction of ‘maintenance interviews’ in the workplace to retain staff as competition for jobs intensifies.

a new survey shows that 88% are in favor of employers conducting interviews to find out what motivates their best employees to stay, but most do not use them.

The survey shows that only four out of 10 organizations carry out “stay interviews”.

In the United States, the “stay interview” has been described as the next big trend after the so-called “big quit” – when employees are believed to have quit their jobs en masse.

According to, which conducted the survey, exit interviews when someone leaves an organization are common, but retention interviews are growing in popularity.

This is usually a casual conversation in which an employer tries to understand what a worker likes or dislikes about their role, the changes they would like to see, the challenges they face and what who would tempt him to leave.

Interviews, he says, “create a space for management to learn from staff and gain insight into the employee experience by exploring the positive aspects of their experience, as well as highlighting areas that employees believe need improvement”.

One in five workers say they are happy in their job and could not be attracted elsewhere.

This means that many could potentially be tempted by another opportunity, which many employers will try to avoid due to the tight job market.’s All-Ireland Employee Survey of 1,200 SME employees reveals that 44% of workers would appreciate the opportunity to speak to a manager about their experiences, successes, failures and challenges within the organisation.

When it comes to benefits that would motivate workers to leave, the largest share of workers, 23%, said financial benefits such as pensions and health care topped the list.

This was followed by better career prospects, flexibility in where or when to work, more annual leave, a more supportive boss, and wellness programs. Director of Employee Wellness, Barry Cahill, said recruiting and retention has become difficult for many employers this year.

“So the concept of the stay interview, although relatively new, may well become a more mainstream HR tool in the near future,” he said.

“Overall, people think ‘maintenance interviews’ are a step in the right direction for companies, although many (45%) think that for it to work, it would be up to employers to make sure that staff feel comfortable coming forward openly to discuss their experience with the company.”

Mr Cahill said people should think of a ‘stay-in interview’ as the opposite of an exit interview.

“Rather than finding out why an employee wants to leave, it’s about finding out what motivates them to stay — its primary goal being employee retention and a happy workforce,” he said.

He said the interview format needs to be well thought out to ensure a safe space for employees to air any difficulties regarding their experience, job functions or relationship with management.

Mr Cahill said one in 10 workers said they did not think suspended interviews were a good idea, with most saying people would not tell the truth.

“Working with hundreds of SMEs over the past few years, we hear over and over again a common mantra – retaining key people in your organization is absolutely crucial – it’s not enough just to get people in the door – they have to want to stay,” he said.

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