When you think of a job interview, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
For most of us, the answer is a meeting that takes place between a job seeker and a hiring manager: It happens before someone gets hired so that businesses can determine whether that candidate is a good fit for a position or not.
Another interview format that may have come to mind is an exit interview, or a meeting between a manager and an employee that has decided to leave a company. The goal with exit interviews is for businesses to determine why the employee is leaving, and to identify areas of improvement.
But there’s a third, frequently overlooked interview: It’s known as the stay interview, and we believe it’s just as significant for employers and employees as either of the other two.
Stay interviews are a strategic way for businesses to take stock in their existing employee satisfaction rates.
They are a great way for businesses to gain insights as to what they are doing right, and they offer employees a platform to openly voice their workplace concerns.
Today, we’ll discuss stay interviews in more detail including the benefits they offer your business and our tips on conducting them the right way at the right time.
What are Stay Interviews?
Stay interviews are meetings with existing employees–typically those with tenure and a strong performance record–to examine why they are staying.
Rather than job interviews or exit interviews, these meetings are held with the top talent on your current team who have a history with your company and have not expressed any interest in leaving.
Benefits of Conducting Stay Interviews
Stay interviews offer businesses the opportunity to speak with their valued and trusted employees to gauge what could be improved as well as what is working well in their organization.
They also take a proactive approach to business adjustments rather than a reactive approach.
While exit interviews offer valuable business insights, they are conducted in response to the unfortunate circumstance of an employee leaving.
For example, one contributing factor to The Great Resignation we are witnessing in the global workforce is that employees are leaving their existing jobs in favor of more flexible working schedules.
Management teams who conduct stay interviews would have had the opportunity to ask and understand the importance of working from home for employees prior to their departure.
Executive teams could then utilize this information to make more informed decisions surrounding their organizational culture and flexibility.
Stay interviews allow you to gather insights before your employees are looking toward the door and can be utilized instead as a retention strategy.
Due to the proactive nature of these interviews, they are also an effective way of showing employees that you care about them.
Companies that take the time to ask about workplace satisfaction demonstrate their gratitude for employees and their dedication to keeping them on board. It is an effective way to boost morale as well as establish trust and open communication between employees and employers.
How to Conduct Stay Interviews
1. Schedule Them in Advance
Don’t blindside your employees with an impromptu meeting: Rather, tell them in advance that you’re planning to speak with them about their workplace satisfaction.
Be sure to allow them sufficient time to think about their feedback points, as this will lead to more meaningful and productive conversations.
2. Have the Right People Conduct the Interviews
The correct person to conduct a stay interview is typically not a human resource professional who has limited day-to-day contact with employees.
Instead, the most productive insights will come from conversations between employees and their managers, or other supervisors who have formed strong relationships with their teams.
3. Be Transparent
Tell employees what your objectives are and let them know what they can expect to discuss with you.
Being transparent about your goals with the conversation takes some of the pressure off of employees who may otherwise feel anxious about meeting with upper-level management.
4. Ensure Privacy and Confidentiality
Make sure that, when asking employees for feedback, you do so in a private environment.
If you conduct stay interviews in a public setting, you are inviting factors that may intimidate or distract your employee from providing their most honest insights.
Instead, make sure stay interviews are conducted in private, one-on-one settings.
5. Keep It Casual
Stay interviews should not be formal meetings, like performance reviews or exit interviews.
Instead, let employees know that it is intended to be a candid conversation, and that you are ready to actively listen to anything they have to share regarding their experience in your company.
6. Give Them Their Own Dedicated Time
It may sound logical and efficient to tack a stay interview onto the end of an employee’s performance review; however, the goals of stay interviews and performance reviews are completely different.
In a performance review, the goal is to give feedback, while in a stay interview, you are looking to receive feedback.
What’s more, performance reviews tend to be more formal while stay interviews are intended to have a relaxed, conversational style.
As such, these two things should be kept separate to ensure the appropriate mindset and dedicated time are given.
7. Ask the Right Questions
It’s important that stay interview questions focus on identifying both the good and the bad when it comes to employee experiences, and that the questions prompt both reflection and forward-thinking about what contributes to their happiness.
Below are some of our suggestions for questions to ask during a stay interview:
8. Analyze Your Findings
A stay interview has limited value if you don’t also examine the trends in your findings.
By gathering the feedback of your employees in one place, you can reflect on what they feel is being done well while also looking for common criticisms and areas for improvement.
Timing is Everything
Timing is a huge point of consideration when thinking of conducting stay interviews in your company.
To begin, it’s important to consider the amount of time the employee has been with the company.
For the best feedback on your business’ practices, you’ll want to speak with people who have a long-term, established track record with your organization.
Recent hires aren’t going to be able to offer as many insights on the way your company operates as someone who has been settled into the company culture for some time.
Then, it’s important to consider the timing of when the interview itself is conducted in relation to other meetings.
As discussed earlier, the stay interview should be its own dedicated event and should not take place during performance reviews.
Seek a time that is convenient for both parties to spend no less than 30 minutes discussing business procedures.
Finally, it’s important to think about when you are scheduling employee stay interviews in relation to one another.
You do not want to leave a large span of time in between these interviews: Instead, the goal is to conduct your interviews as close together as possible so that you can analyze your findings and begin taking action quickly thereafter.
Stay interviews are an effective way that businesses can improve employee experiences and reduce resignation rates. By engaging employees in discussions surrounding their work environments, management professionals become more invested in their employees’ journeys as they make adjustments for their satisfaction and motivation.
Here at FrankCrum Staffing, we are committed to working with you to develop employee retention strategies that suit your business. Contact us today to learn more about how FrankCrum Staffing is the partner you need to not only hire new employees but also to keep your valued team members satisfied and motivated.