Stay interviews are an incredible tool to help you increase retention, enhance employee performance, and gauge company culture.
Unlike a traditional interview, which helps you understand a potential employee better, or an exit interview, which discloses why an employee wants to leave a company, stay interviews take place while employees are still working for your company and helps you understand why they stay.
One of the primary reasons to conduct stay interviews is to increase employee retention. Employee retention is a huge opportunity to get right, illustrated by the fact that 25% of employees left their jobs in 2018.
Because employee retention is the goal, stay interview questions should emphasize to your employees how much you appreciate and value them and want to work with them to make them happier. You can also use stay interviews to try and recognize any signs that someone might be looking for opportunities elsewhere so you can find ways to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction overall at your company.
Some examples of stay interview questions include:
What do you look forward to every day at work?
What skills and passions do you have that our company is not utilizing?
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
Consider this full list of stay interview questions.
Either an employee’s direct manager or a human resources staff member should conduct the stay interview.
Stay interviews can have more impact with a manager taking the lead because that is the person ultimately responsible for creating the changes discussed in the interview. However, an HR person can be a better option if the aim of the interview is to gauge sensitive matters, or if your company culture is such that you believe HR staff will receive more honest feedback than managers.
Either way, it is crucial that whoever conducts the stay interviews is not just monotonously reading questions off a notecard; they should be ready to connect with the employee and be vulnerable with them so that employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves.
Stay interviews are better than just sending out an employee satisfaction survey because interviews offer depth and will mean more to employees.
Stay interviews enable a two-way conversation, providing employees the chance to ask questions, shape conversations, and feel heard.
After deciding who is going to conduct stay interviews and preparing those people with questions and an understanding of how to effectively do them, you need to decide which employees to interview.
Choose someone who excels at their job, but also represents a high flight risk group in your company. You might want to choose someone inline for a promotion because these interviews are recognizing that you appreciate the interviewees’ opinion and their approach to work is something to be emulated.
While you may feel attached to the list of questions you created, don’t let it box you in. Follow whatever line of thought or questions feels natural. You want the stay interview to feel like a conversation, not an interrogation. A stay interview should last at least thirty minutes to get the level of depth you’re hoping for.
Afterward, managers and HR personnel should review stay interview data together, discuss the results, identify patterns, and determine a plan of action.
Stay interviews allow you to evaluate how your high performing employees feel about your company and enable you to find ways to retain them. Stay interviews are also valuable in identifying ways employees’ skills are being under-utilized and help their managers create opportunities for them to shine.
Use all you learn from stay interviews to create positive change within your company. Acting on what is learned from stay interviews now will ensure that you’re improving company culture and creating an environment for everyone to do their best work.