Learning & Development, Talent

Stay vs. Exit Interviews and Why Each Is Important

It’s often surprising how out of touch managers and HR departments can be with their teams and organizations. They often have unrealistic perceptions of the level of satisfaction and engagement, as well as why employees have those feelings.interview

A key strategy for getting a sense of an organization’s pulse is simply to ask employees. Savvy organizations will periodically poll staff throughout their term of employment to get a sense of the mood within the office. How engaged are staff? What are the biggest concerns they have? How do they feel about the changes they have been seeing? What changes do they think are needed?

Here, we’ll discuss two common types of employee satisfaction interviews.

Exit Interviews

Exit interviews, as you may have guessed, are conducted after an employee has announced his or her intention to leave the organization. Questions typically focus on trying to understand the reasons for the employee’s departure.

Is the employee leaving for more pay? Are there other concerns the organization has failed to adequately address? The responses to these types of questions can be extremely useful because the information gained can be used to prevent additional employees from leaving.

Stay Interviews

Stay interviews, in contrast to exit interviews, are preventive in nature. They are proactive as opposed to reactive. Instead of waiting for a departing employee to tell you all the things he or she thinks could have been improved at your organization, sit down with the employee periodically to get a sense of what might need improvement.

Then, work to address those things to keep valued employees from considering leaving in the first place. An added benefit: Stay interviews can motivate employees and help them see that the organization cares about their feedback and is committed to keeping them on the team.

Talking to employees is one of the easiest ways to get a sense of how they truly feel about their work and their potential future at your organization. Of course, it’s important to conduct those conversations effectively and to ask the right questions.

Furthermore, the timing of those conversations is crucial. While it does make sense to ask departing employees why they are leaving, it can be far more effective to have conversations about job satisfaction before employees make the decision to leave. In an ideal world, employers wouldn’t ever need to do an exit interview.