So much of the human resource function is geared toward recruitment that retention is often relegated to a secondary position in terms of the broader staffing picture.
This is really a big mistake for a number of reasons, one of the most significant of which is the fact that it is very expensive to hire and train new employees as opposed to retaining existing talent. Particularly in a tight employment environment as we’re seeing now, a focus on retention should be equal to, if not greater than, a focus on recruitment!
The Role of the ‘Stay’ Interview
There are a number of strategies to help bolster employee retention. Obviously, ensuring that compensation and benefits match or exceed industry standards is one element, as is ensuring a welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable workplace. But there are also strategies that can be targeted more specifically, such as the “stay interview.”
As Pamela DeLoatch writes for HR Dive, “Exit interviews gather useful information about why an employee is leaving, but it’s typically too late to change an employee’s decision to go. In contrast, a stay interview gathers critical insights from employees who (as far as you know) are not planning on leaving, and have definitive reasons to continue with the company.”
The Benefits of Stay Interviews
There are several benefits to conducting such interviews. First and foremost, you can ask employees directly what is going well and what is not going so well in terms of their job satisfaction. This gives you the opportunity to address any lingering issues before they come to a head.
More generally, to the extent that you are seeing the same issues arise from multiple employees, you can get a chance to consider if organizational-level changes might be necessary. Additionally, just sitting down with employees and having the discussion helps build a level of trust with them.
DeLoatch reports that while relatively few companies currently conduct stay interviews, there is growing interest in the practice: “A Challenger, Grey & Christmas study indicated that only 27% of companies conduct them, and an additional 24% are interested in incorporating them.”
As the old expression goes, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” The stay interview is a great way to keep in tune with your employees’ impressions of the organization and their role in it and help take steps to correct any issues before they lead to employee turnover.