With the COVID-19 pandemic only increasing the competitiveness within the job market, it is even more important for employers to retain a workforce of efficient, reliable, and high-quality employees. One vital tool for employers in terms of retaining staff are stay interviews.
We take a look at what stay interviews are, how they can benefit your business and what particular details, as an employer, you should be focused on during this process.
What is a stay interview and why are they important to employers?
As the name suggests a stay interview is an open, honest discussion conducted with current employees within your business. These interviews focus on what drives the employee to stay working within the organisation, such as what they value about their role, in addition to providing the employee with the opportunity to provide constructive feedback as to what elements of their role and business operations, such as leadership and management, could be improved, to make their role even better.
Stay interviews are a vital tool for employers in terms of building a relationship of trust with their employees, and increasing job satisfaction, which can lead to higher retention rates. Where employees feel part of the organisation, through having the ability to discuss elements of their role, and suggest improvements, they are more likely to feel valued and to stay.
Many employers, through conducting regular stay interviews, have been able to identify the reasons employees are more likely to stay, such as a fantastic workplace culture, flexible working arrangements and career development and growth opportunities, as well as having an opportunity to identify the elements of the workplace that make employees leave, such as a poor management style.
Additionally, stay interviews can provide financial benefits to employers. Through reduced staff turnover and increased retention rates, comes less costs associated with the recruitment, onboarding, and training processes, which can provide a positive outcome in terms of an organisation’s bottom line.
How are stay interviews different from exit interviews?
Stay interviews are a proactive human resource management tool conducted with current employees, as opposed to exit interviews which are conducted with employees who are on their way out of the door, and no longer continuing with the organisation.
Exit interviews, whilst useful in terms of identifying any issues and providing an opportunity for both employer and employee to part ways on constructive terms, are not as useful as stay interviews. This is due to the fact that an exiting employee can not see the results of the feedback provided taking place in the organisation. Feedback received from current employees, provides the employer with an opportunity to make changes and for the employee to see for themselves that the employer has taken the feedback on board and taken the necessary action. Therefore, highlighting to the employee that their feedback has not only been heard, but is valued.
Who should I interview and how often?
Conducting a stay interview with some of your strongest and best performing employees will enable you to see what makes these high performers tick, what they value and provide valuable insight into how and why they are performing consistently. Additionally, conducting stay interviews with some of your more average and not as highly driven employees will also provide insight into what would, and could, drive them to be more productive.
Any new employee to the business should be interviewed at least 2-3 times within their first 6 months of employment. For example, once a month during the first 3 months is a great target to aim for. A longer-term employee should be interviewed at least once a year.
The timing of stay interviews is also important to ensure that the interview is constructive and does not turn into a situation where an employee is simply venting. It is for this reason stay interviews should never be conducted at the same time as a performance appraisal or review, as this does not enable an employee to freely discuss and share their views, as they themselves are under review at that point in time.
What questions should I ask?
Questions in a stay interview should focus on the employee and how the employer can support the employee to achieve their goals and operate to their maximum potential. The questions asked should consider the employee holistically and not just within the confines of the workplace. For example, discussing their family situation, do they need greater flexibility to ensure their family commitments are met? Do they have any long-term career goals that the organisation could support?
A stay interview should not discuss things like pay rates and whether an employee is happy within the workplace. These sorts of questions tend not to be constructive to the business or the employee and are not the intention of the stay interview process.
Stay interviews are one of the most valuable human resource management tools available to employers. Getting them right and making the most of the information derived from these interviews is relatively simple, provided you follow the general guidelines outlined above.
As always, if you have any questions regarding Stay Interviews or any other employee issue, please contact us now for a Complimentary Discovery Session to talk through your options.