Blogs & Videos

Decrease Turnover: Staying Ahead with Stay Interviews

rw-admin | 10/24/2017


Building on our article last month about Job Hoppers, companies have the opportunity to decrease turnover by implementing the valuable practice of the “Stay Interview” with current employees.  This is certainly not a brand-new concept, but the current employment climate has forced companies to consider its relevance in the war for talent.

Today, the average person changes jobs 12 times during their lifetime; meaning an employee is likely to jump ship every 2-5 years.  That means companies are constantly hiring and rehiring and rehiring for the same positon leading to frustration and drained resources. Many times managers feel blindsided when someone quits and wish they could go back and “fix” the problem that led up to the departure.  The truth usually comes out during the exit interview, but it is too late then to save that employee and so starts the new hire process all over again costing companies valuable time and resources.

Many companies employ a standard annual review procedure, but checking in on a more frequent basis may be what is needed to gauge employee satisfaction and improve the likelihood of retaining employees. The ultimate purpose behind this one-on-one (manager/employee) conversation is to determine what the company can do to keep this person, as well as to hear any grievances which may result in him/ her leaving the organization.

It is recommended that managers (versus HR) sit down for a discussion in a structured format at least once a year, typically opposite the annual review date and twice in the critical period during which companies experience attrition of new hires. This allows employers the opportunity to take immediate action to improve the individual’s satisfaction, if in fact there is a problem. Over time and after interviews with multiple employees, companies will likely see patterns and have the opportunity to make valuable company-wide changes and improvements.  At the end of the day, stay interviews decrease turnover and promote a more satisfactory, productive work environment.STAY INTERVIEW

It is a good idea to be transparent with employees about the purpose of this meeting and allow them time to consider what they would like to discuss in advance.  It can also be worked into the hiring and onboarding process as a benefit to the employee.  Knowing that they will have an opportunity to express themselves openly in a deliberate meeting promotes a sense of trust and value.  Types of questions to ask:

  • What do you like about your job?
  • Can you tell me about a good day of work you had recently?
  • Do you feel you’re being used to your full potential in this job?
  • Is there something new in particular you want to learn this year?
  • Do you feel you are appropriately recognized for your contributions?
  • Do you have the right resources to perform successfully?
  • Do you feel like you’re “in the know” when it comes to company information or departmental changes?
  • Can you describe a recent frustrating experience or day on the job?
  • Do you feel as though you are treated with trust and respect in your position?
  • If you had the power, how would you change your day-to-day job to be more enjoyable?

While the unemployment rate remains low and new job creation continues to increase, the demand for skilled talent has never been greater.  Companies are struggling to fill positions and keep the employees they have.  Implementing stay interviews into a retention strategy is just one more tool organizations can use in retaining critical employees.  Does it require time and effort to develop a plan of action and apply it in an effective manner?  Absolutely it does.  But if it means decreasing overall turnover and hanging on to the best team members, it will no doubt be worth it in the end.

Written By: Angie Barnes, The Q Works Group