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The Stay Interview: An Innovative Employee Retention Strategy

As an HR professional, it’s your responsibility to not only create impactful engagement and employee retention strategies, but to also enable the leaders at your company to execute them effectively. With remote work adding an extra layer of complexity to the manager:employee relationship, having a playbook that allows them to gauge employee frustrations and boost engagement will go a long way. 

A great way to start measuring employee engagement and satisfaction is the Stay Interview. In this guide, we’ll define the stay interview, and show you everything you’ll need to get your managers and team leaders ready to start. With an effective stay interview process, managers will be on their way to creating team cultures which all will want to be a part of. 

What is a Stay Interview?

Stay interviews are a proven tactic that organizations use to gauge why their employees come to work every day. They are informal conversations between a manager and employee designed to gather valuable feedback about their role and the parts of your company that they enjoy. Additionally, these interviews can give some insight on what might make a great employee move on from their role, and are great exercises to establish trust between managers and their teams.

Why Stay Interviews? 

Stay interviews improve employee retention by identifying pain points and recurring problems before they become major issues. When incorporating stay interviews into other employee engagement efforts like pulse surveys, recognition programs, and training, your team will quickly become a destination that attracts new talent and beats turnover. It should be a part of everyone’s employee retention policy.

When Should You Conduct Stay Interviews? 

They should be conducted at least once a year between a manager and their employee and should never be a part of the performance review cycle. Answers to stay interview questions should be candid, and employees should not worry if their answers will affect their performance review results. 

If your managers have regular one-on-one meetings with employees, that can be a great time to conduct a stay interview. However, your managers should set expectations for this conversation and share why it is occurring and the positive impact that it is intended to have. 

All in all, these conversations should be 30 minutes or less and take place in a comfortable setting for both your managers and their employees. 

Stay Interview Implementation Best Practices

Here are a few tips and considerations for getting started: 

  • Focus your efforts. Stay interviews should not be conducted with every employee, rather focus on your high performing/high potential employees – those who are enthusiastic about their role and demonstrate a connection with the organization. 
  • Decide who leads the interview. Managers should be conducting stay interviews in most cases as they are typically closer to their employees than members of the HR department. 
  • Create a template. Create an interview template so each manager follows the same structure and each employee is asked the same questions. This keeps data and feedback consistent. 
  • Summarize. Managers should wrap up each interview with a summary of the employees’ feedback to avoid any misunderstandings and to improve 1:1 communication. 
  • Take Action. This is the most important aspect of any stay interview. The feedback you receive here is crucial to improving employee engagement and retention and should be taken seriously. For example, you might find that your team members feel they are not getting enough recognition for their hard work. You can take action by implementing an employee recognition program that improves employee engagement and satisfaction across the board.

Questions to get you started

  • What do you look forward to when you come to work every day?
  • What do you not look forward to when you come to work every day?
  • What motivates you?
  • What would tempt you to leave the company?
  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What would make your job more satisfying?
  • What responsibility or part of your job would you eliminate?
  • Do you feel you have clear expectations/goals/objectives?
  • Do you feel you have adequate learning or training opportunities 
  • Do you feel valued and recognized?
  • What ways do you like to be recognized?
  • Do you have the right tools and resources to accomplish your job?
  • Which tools should we stop using? Which would make your life easier? 

Conclusion

The Great Resignation is upon us, and it is more important than ever to put your employees first. Stay Interviews are valuable and easy to implement exercises that give incredible insight into the day to day experiences of your employees. With the information gathered, you can work with your managers to identify areas for growth and prioritize your efforts to make the biggest impact on employee retention and beat that employee turnover rate benchmark. 

Having an all-in-one employee engagement, performance, and workplace connectivity tool can help you implement stay interviews and take action on your findings. Get started today with HelloTeam. 

To learn more about the steps of employee retention, check out our article, How to Retain Employees in 2022! We have a lot more on the subject as well – take a look at our Employee Retention Strategies PDF, or our 10 HR Strategies For the Retention Crisis piece, as told by experts from many of the industries we discussed above. All of our resources can be found in our Library – check them out here! To see HelloTeam, the employee retention platform, in action, click here — and to set up a meeting with us, go here!

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