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Love 'Em? Don't Lose 'Em!  Stay Interviews

TXTS4 Leaders List

Love 'Em? Don't Lose 'Em! Stay Interviews

Kimberly St Clair

What is the best way to find out what keeps your top employees coming back every year? Ask them! A stay interview, as opposed to an exit interview, is a proactive, exploratory survey that helps leaders get in touch with the individual needs and perspectives of their employees. They are a great way to:

  •   Demonstrate that you value and respect your employees

  •   Find out what keeps them coming back and determine what they need to continue to be successful

  • Identify pain points that you may be able to resolve to improve the working environment

  • Garner new ideas for employee engagement, retention, and productivity

Stay interviews focus on qualitative questions such as, “What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?” and, “What motivates (or demotivates) you?”. Questions like these invite open dialogue and, when it is met with managerial action, show the employee how much his or her feedback is valued. 

To get started:

  • Identify your sample population: consider your top performers, flight risks, and those with high potential. Aim for 20% or so of your total employee base.

  •   Identify a thoughtful set of 6-8 qualitative questions, and make sure you ask everyone the same questions to make end data more meaningful.

  • Schedule at least 45 minutes (but preferably an hour) for each interview. This communicates value and priority in a busy schedule and allows time to build trust. 

  • Communicate the WHY—this is an opportunity for them to be heard, so encourage them to embrace it.

  • Take action: worse than conducting no stay interview at all would be conducting it and then doing nothing to follow up! Collect data from responses and determine which factors you can address to retain your top talent.

For more information and some question ideas, check out these resources:

 The Balance

People Element