#4 Stay Interviews

Why do your employees stay? There’s only one way to find out – ask them. Each stay interview can last about ½ hour. This blog is excerpted from The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention, Second Edition by Richard Finnegan, as summarized in an article in SHRM magazine (URL below).

To conduct a stay successful stay interview,

  • Listen 80% of the time,
  • Probe to learn more, and
  • Take notes – capturing key points, emotional words and important quotes.

Ask 5 questions, with probing follow-ups to learn what your employee is really thinking and feeling:

  1. What do you look forward to each day when you commute to work? This question focuses an employee on their daily duties and challenges. You can follow up with “give me an example,” or “tell me more about…” or “who do you look forward to working with the most?”
  2. What are you learning here, and what do you want to learn? Follow up questions could include, “Which other jobs here look attractive to you?”, and “What skills do you think are required for those jobs?”, or “What skills would you have to build to attain those jobs or some responsibilities of those jobs?”
  3. Why do you stay here? Take your time, because I really want to know. Potential probing questions are: “Tell me more about why that is so important to you,” “Is that the only reason you stay, or are there others?”, and the converse, “If you narrowed your reasons to stay to just one, what would it be?”
  4. When is the last time you thought about leaving, and what prompted it? This question will probably surprise the employee with its frankness, giving them permission to tell you what they never expected. Potential follow up questions include: “Tell me more about what happened. Who said what?”, and “What’s the single best thing I can do to make that better for you?”, and “How important is that to you now on a 1-10 scale?”
  5. What can I do to make your job better for you? Be prepared to receive potentially uncomfortable but vital feedback which will help you do your job better as well as helping you retain the employee. Some potential follow-ups include: “Do I tell you when you do something well?” “Do I say and do things to help you do your job better?” and “What are three ways I can be a better manager to you?”

Close a stay interview on a strong note: Thank the employee for their time, summarize the feedback you’ve heard, relay what your next steps will be, and provide a clear sense of what the discussion will have changed.

Let me know how this works for you.



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