Smart business owners are constantly looking for innovative ways to create a work environment that enhances employee loyalty and promotes trust, responsibility, and growth.
For many businesses, interviews are conducted during the hiring process or when someone leaves the company. However, there are also benefits to interviewing employees at various points in between. Stay interviews are a great tool that more managers should use to gauge employee satisfaction, company culture, and shared thinking on how to improve and grow the organization. Managers who conduct stay interviews can retain top talent, engage their employees, and lower their employee attrition in ways that others cannot.
What is a stay interview?
A stay interview is an interview, or more of a conversation, between an employer and an employee, the purpose being to learn what keeps that employee working for the organization, as well as any aspects that need improvement or change.
Some may feel that employee surveys do the same thing a stay interview does, but you could argue that holding one-on-one conversations with as many employees as possible teases out much more information for leadership to work with than fixed interview questions that do not allow for follow-up questions or contextual details. So here are a few benefits of stay interviews, every business owner should consider.
1. Minimize turnover costs
An employee earning a salary of $50,000 could potentially cost $10,000 to replace when adding up recruiting and training expenses. Unfortunately, employee turnover is on the rise, increasing from 15.1% in 2013 to just over 18% in 2017.
Minimizing turnover is one of the most important reasons to conduct stay interviews. The Finnegan Institute reported that clients were able to improve retention by up to 70% in the first six months of adding stay interviews to their evaluation processes.
- It builds trust and employee loyalty.
A successful business is only as strong as its weakest relationship. When employees see that their supervisor cares enough to check-in and seek ideas from them, it promotes trust of management and loyalty. Employees rarely leave bosses they like and respect.
3. It promotes an outlook of teamwork and togetherness.
One of the big differences between “stay” and “exit” interviews is stayed interviews focus on idea-sharing between colleagues who both want the same thing – an awesome future and overall experience with the company. Exit interviews often zero in on the negative, without a healthy balance of acknowledging the positive.
4. It addresses problems in the early stages.
Without performing your team’s day-to-day tasks and not always being directly involved, it can be challenging as an employer to always be in tune with what your team accomplishes. With effective stay interviews, companies can head off problems before they get too large. Stay interviews are a preemptive opportunity for companies to change policies, practices or related aspects that are not serving team members well.
5. It helps retain top talent and leaders
In addition to lowering employee turnover, stay interviews offer an opportunity to gather as much information as possible from key team members about their employee experience. Are they happy? Do they feel engaged? What aspects of the company need to evolve or change for them to consider it an “employer of choice”?
6. It assesses the health of your company culture
Stay interviews are a chance to gauge your company culture as employees experience it. Is your culture thriving, dynamic, and engaging, or dismissive and stagnant? Cultivating an engaging, inclusive, dynamic culture is an ongoing act, not a singular destination.
7. It lets you assess individual employees’ wellbeing.
It is possible to maintain a healthy company culture yet have individual employees who struggle within it. These employees often go unnoticed, especially if most team members are giving high marks to the culture overall. Checking in and assessing the individual as well as the company culture is equally important and a huge gain for leadership.
8. It shows how you compare to your competition.
Your employees probably know as much as you do (or more) about what your competitors offer their employees. During these discussions, don’t be afraid to ask what employees are seeing in the job market or the industry. A good question to ask employees is, “What are our competitors offering in this area?” You could also see what they think about benefits or employment practices that other companies are experiencing success with.
Stay Interview Questions & Tips
Whether you’ve been conducting stay interviews for several years or want to give them a try, here are a few tips and sample questions to work into your next interview.
- Schedule them in advance. This shows respect to your employee and allows them to prepare their thoughts.
- Let employees choose the setting.
- Be transparent about the goal of the interview.
- Listen more than you speak during the interview. Pay attention to body language and emotional cues to get the most out of an employee’s response.
Not sure if you’re asking the right stay interview questions? Here are a few of our favorites.
- Do you have any interests or skills that you feel aren’t properly utilized with your position?
- Do you feel there is a part of your job performance you aren’t properly recognized for?
- Is there an area in which you would like more feedback or training?
- What do you think about on your way to work every morning?
- What are your career goals?
Let employees answer honestly. Consider every suggestion and don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. As soon as the stay interview dynamic is damaged, the benefits stop. Remember that a stay interview is the beginning of a discussion, not the final say.
The benefits of stay interviews can have a tremendously positive effect on your business. Take the time to have the conversation. You won’t regret it.