“Sheltering in job” is coming to an end: Is your organization ready?
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March 24, 2021

As we come to the close of Q1 2021, COVID vaccinations are in place, restrictions are being eased, organizations are starting to bring employees back to the office and the workforce is on the move. While many employees “sheltered in job” through 2020 due to fear and uncertainty, today, they are ready for their next opportunity. We know that there are industries that are and will continue to be looking for great talent.

In a recent survey, Xpert HR cited 66% of their respondents feeling “somewhat” or “very” challenged, heading into 2021, to recruit and hire the right talent for their organizations. Employers cited helping employees feel safe in the workplace, eliminating unconscious bias, virtual recruiting, hiring and onboarding practices as the top issues they face.

A great strategy to avoid having to recruit and hire is to re-engage your current employees. How do you accomplish this with some employees on site and others working remotely? Conducting stay interviews will help you understand how your employees are feeling about the organization, their manager and their contributions to business goals.

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 employee writes a resignation email.  You can have these conversations both in person and virtually. If you’re going virtual, cameras on and pay attention to body language! Here are five steps to get started with stay interviews. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Begin the dialogue and act on the feedback.  As with any relationship, be empathetic, patient, non-judgmental and retaliation free. Keep the last year and the personal struggles that your employees have faced at the forefront of your conversations. Remember this is not a performance discussion.
  5. Start with team members that you know will feel good about helping to enhance their current 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”. I assert that you can’t afford not to take the time and check in with each team member. Employee initiated turnover is on the rise as we move out of the pandemic. Organizations looking for talent will be connecting with your employees. For many organizations, your workforce may have been working remotely for the last 12 months. Remote work has both benefits and pitfalls for employees as well as employers. For those employees who like remote work, the desire to continue, will be a driver in their level of engagement. Now is the time to understand who you are at risk of losing. Don’t know what questions to ask? Take a look at this post for ideas.

At KardasLarson, we can help you put a simple stay interview program in place or help you to measure and increase your employee engagement. We’ll meet you where you’re at so set up a conversation today!

Leesa Schipani

Leesa Schipani


With 20+ years HR experience, her focus includes HR strategy, talent management, and customer & employee experience. Leesa has advanced HR certifications: SPHR, SHRM-SCP.


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KardasLarson is a human resources and business consulting firm that maximizes employee performance so people and organizations prosper.



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