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The Stay Interview: A Primer for Executives

According to Goldman Sachs data published by Business Insider, the U.S. is in the middle of the biggest labor shortage since World War II. In fact, at least 3.6 million Americans have quit their jobs each month since April 2021.

However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports another significant trend, fast emerging since November 2021. Described by the Chamber as “The Great Reshuffle,” the trend shows that workers who are quitting their jobs are quickly getting rehired elsewhere. All of which suggests that many employers are failing to meet the needs of their existing workers and losing them to other, more attractive opportunities as a result.

So, how can organizations retain key employees so vitally important to their future growth, innovation, and success?

As with anything else, information is powerful, which is why savvy H.R. departments routinely conduct Stay Interviews with employees – touchpoints and conversations to help them understand what individuals throughout their organizations want, need, and expect from the workplace.  With this information, managers and H.R. teams can work together to construct a culture and environment in ways that keep employees engaged, productive, and motivated to stay.

What Is a Stay Interview?

Glassdoor describes a Stay Interview as “a management tool designed to promote better employee retention.” When conducted effectively, a Stay Interview “helps management find out the things employees love about their job that make them continue to do it. The stay interview also finds out work-related factors that may influence the employee to take another job.” 

Asking the Right Questions

Indeed’s top 10 questions employers should ask during Stay Interviews cover topics ranging from what employees look forward to at work, what they don’t, and how the company can improve the employee experience overall.  Indeed also advises employers to specifically probe whether good work is recognized in meaningful ways, feedback is delivered in a timely and effective manner, company flexibility meets an employee’s need for work/life balance, and whether the employee clearly sees future opportunities for growth and advancement.

In addition to informing management and H.R. teams on the state of employee job satisfaction, Stay Interviews serve as points of engagement that tell employees their employer cares about what they think.

Given today’s hybrid, distributed workforce, these touchpoints have never been more important. The isolation that comes with new work-from-home business models has disrupted the connectedness that many employees had previously felt toward their jobs and colleagues when they had reported to the office daily. As advocated by Forbes Magazine, Stay Interviews can help companies address this dynamic by reinforcing ties with remote employees. “It’s easy to lose touch with employees when you aren’t physically seeing them every day, and in turn, employees can feel that their managers are out of touch,” the article states.

Introducing the Concept

However, when introducing Stay Interviews to employees, it is important to approach the initiative with sensitivity. Employees may feel a certain amount of apprehension about commenting on the quality of your work culture and may even perceive Stay Interviews as a practice designed to weed out unhappy employees. 

So, be sure to communicate their purpose well and generate buy-in for the process organization-wide. The Stay Interview should be met by employees confidently and comfortably, so they can provide you with meaningful feedback you can use to improve your culture and workplace on their behalf.

Interviewing a broad selection of employees at different levels within the firm and at different perceived levels of engagement is a best practice that helps diffuse any concerns employees may have in sharing their thoughts. Be sure to also follow up with employees after a Stay Interview to let them know what you learned and any actions the company intends to take based on their recommendations.

Seeking Professional Guidance

Employee relations can be tricky and must always be handled with care and expertise. To make the most of Stay Interviews and other delicate H.R. practices, the help of a seasoned professional outsourcing firm can prove invaluable. 

Look for a partnering firm with a vast toolkit of resources and a proven track record of helping organizations put in place workplace policies and practices that speak to employee values and aspirations. The firm you select should offer strategic consulting and organizational assessment services that are both effective for the firm and rewarding for the employees involved. 

M3 Placement and Partnership can help. We bring the depth of experience and expertise needed to help you manage your Stay Interview campaign from start to finish and then translate the results into actionable insights. 

Ultimately, your employees are the bedrock of your future, and their long-term commitment to your firm is essential to your success. Providing them with a sense of security, optimism, and well-being is a sound business practice that will inspire their loyalty and keep them engaged for years to come.

Schedule your free consultation now.