There are many different stages within the employee lifecycle. From the very beginning of the onboarding process, right through to offboarding or outplacement, employers should be across how their employees are placed and whether there is any risk of them leaving to take another opportunity elsewhere.
With the current capacity and scarcity issues in the labour market, it’s never been more important for organisations to do everything they can to not only know how their employees are engaged in their role, but to put retention strategies into place to keep their best and brightest and people who occupy the most criticial roles in an organsiation around for as long as possible.
Stay interviews are an important part of this employee retention process.
What is a stay interview?
Stay interviews, much like job interviews or exit interviews, are a chance to sit down with employees and hear their perspective.
A stay interview, however, is conducted in the midst of someone’s time with an organisation. It’s a chance to check in, to take the temperature of their career within the organisation and understand what’s motivating them to stay or if they’re thinking about leaving soon.
Stay interviews anticipate all the problems that might arise, helping employers to look proactively at what motivates staff to stay, and mitigate any risks of losing their best and brightest people. . It’s a great tool to get some accurate insights from employees that may help you to avoid undergoing the offboarding process and stem the tide in this uncertain and tight market.
Who are your best, brightest and key employees?
Typically, a stay interview is seen as a way to retain your best and brightest people – but they can be helpful for making sure you keep all your key employees. Key employees are those who:
- Are in a role that is difficult to replace – this could be that they are in a role that is critical to your organisation, but it could also be that they are in a role where candidates are short in the market, so it could be months or even years before you find the right person to fill the role.
- Have specialised skills – organisations require a whole host of skills, some more niche than others. The more unique a skillset is, the more valuable that employee will be to an organisation.
- Are engaged with the organisation – these people champion the organisation’s initiatives, are loyal to the company and are involved in shaping the future of the organisation.
Losing any employee can be frustrating and cause setbacks, but losing a key employee is particularly costly for organisations. It’s down to employers to be doing everything they can to retain these key people within their organisation.
Don’t be scared of stay interviews
Stay interviews work best when employees are honest. Of course, this means that there might be responses managers don’t want to hear. In fact, it’s not always the best course of action to expect a manager to conduct the stay interview. Employees often join an organisation to take on an opportunity, but they’ll leave because they no longer want to work with their manager.
When honesty is encouraged in a stay interview and managers are conducting it, it’s highly likely that managers will hear something they are unhappy or annoyed with. But there’s no reason that this needs to stop you conducting stay interviews altogether. Instead, consider bringing in a third party to lead the interview, so that employees are free to be honest and managers are able to receive feedback constructively and appropriately.
Know your policies and don’t overpromise
Stay interviews should be seen as an opportunity to get insights from key employees, rather than as a platform to meet demands on the spot.
It may be that an employee is looking for better remuneration and they’re willing to look elsewhere for it, even if the role with your organisation ticks all their other boxes. Stay interviews don’t need to resolve the issue then and there by offering a pay increase, especially as those conducting stay interviews may not have the power to offer this – although it might be prudent to act quickly afterwards – instead, it’s an opportunity to hear this feedback and report it back to those in leadership.
Ask the right questions to get deep insights into what your best and brightest love about working at your organisation, what kinds of opportunities they’re looking for and how they would like to see the organisation grow and change to remain the best choice for their employment.
Do you know what happens after a stay interview?
Stay interviews aren’t designed to be isolated. Instead, take the insights and feedback gathered by the interview and use it to plan for further engagement. Communicate clearly to your key employees that their growth is important to you and what they offer to the organisation is valuable.
When used right, stay interviews are one of the best tools to secure the future success of your organisation.
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