Human Resources best practices tell us that doing exit interviews are a good idea. Interview an employee when they’re leaving and they’re more likely to tell you everything; the good, bad and ugly. But, at that point, we’ve lost them. There’s nothing in that exit interview we can say to keep them. If we had that information before, would we have been able to make any changes and save them? Why don’t we do stay interviews more often in an effort to retain employees?
We’ve all heard the statistics, recruiting costs far outweigh employee retention. Stay interviews are an effective tool to retain employees and improve the business. Stay interviews give current employees the chance to speak openly and honestly about what they like and don’t like. It allows managers to ask what they can do to keep employees happy and in their position. Wouldn’t you like to know before it’s too late?
As you set out to do stay interviews, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Build trust. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, but if you want employees to speak openly and honestly, you need it. Conducting stay interviews will further enhance the trust your employees have in the company.
Look for trends. I always tell employees that I’m looking for trends among the interviews verses the one offs. This way it protects them if they say something that could be tied back to them, but it also allows you to address those issues which are more overarching across the organization.
To interview or not to interview? Be careful not to cherry pick who you’re going to interview. If you do this, other employees might see it as those employee’s opinions are more valued and your efforts may backfire. It’s helpful to interview an entire department or group of employees.
Commit to act. Don’t waste everyone’s time if you’re not going to do anything about it. Make a commitment to review the information from the interviews and put together a plan to address concerns. It’s helpful to show employees a review of what you’ve heard so that they understand the direction you’re going to take to address the concerns.
Acting before it’s too late and conducting stay interviews will increase retention, communication and employee morale. Have you done them in the past? What are your experiences?