I just finished reading a MarketWatch article about the looming worker shortage facing the US economy, and I thought about ways to retain top talent. One of my favorite ways to keep my all-stars is the stay interview.
Unlike an exit interview, which is conducted once an employee has made the decision to leave, a stay interview is conducted with employees throughout their tenure. Feedback gathered through a stay interview gives you an opportunity to make changes before the decision to leave is made. Here are 5 steps to get started with stay interviews.
- Keep it simple and get the conversation started. Your goal is to engage your employees in a conversation around why they like working at your organization and learn what could be better. Because people work for and leave managers, the conversation should originate with the direct supervisor.
- Recruit your best managers as early adopters and encourage them to mentor their peers. Many Managers may not be comfortable in this role and will need help learning how to ask for feedback, so your early adopters can guide their reluctant peers.
- Anticipate that some employees will not be transparent at first. Your goal is to create an environment where your employees feel safe sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. If done right, your staff will feel comfortable sharing without being asked.
- Begin the dialogue and act on the feedback. As with any relationship, be patient, non-judgmental and retaliation free.
- Start with team members that you know will feel good about helping to enhance their workplace experience. As you continue to have conversations and employees share their experience with each other, you’ll find them more willing to open up and have more productive discussions.
You may be saying to yourself, “I don’t have the time to conduct regular interviews with my people”. Today you are spending significant time away from your internal and external customers to recruit, hire and train new employees and this will get even harder in the future. Investing just a fraction of that time in stay interviews and increasing employee retention will pay you huge dividends.