In our previous blog post we discussed exit interviews, which are a great tool for collecting meaningful information from employees who are leaving your organization. Stay interviews – which we will discuss in this blog – are about collecting information from employees while they are still employed with you. These interviews provide leaders with another opportunity to collect information that can be used to make valuable changes. For instance, maybe a common theme among your organization’s staff is that a lack of health and dental benefits may be a reason for employees to look for work elsewhere. On the flip side, stay interviews can also reaffirm things that the organization is doing well. For example, maybe staff believe that they are kept well informed on decisions by senior leaders. Some common stay interview questions are as follows:

  • What do you enjoy most about your role?
  • What do you enjoy the least?
  • What would cause you to leave the organization?
  • What ultimately keeps you here?

Ideally, the interview will be more conversational than simply Q and A. There is no need to ask dozens of questions, but the questions that you do ask should lead to a robust discussion. Communicate to employees that this information will be used to drive process improvement; otherwise, employees may be skeptical and therefore unwilling to share information that is helpful.

It would be a good idea to conduct stay interviews with staff on an annual basis. When you do arrange interviews, ensure that you allow the proper time for discussions to take place with each employee – an hour is likely appropriate.

Once you complete interviews and identify themes, share the feedback with all staff. You can do this in different fashions, whether summarizing information and sending it in an email, or sharing it at a meeting with all staff. Regardless of how you communicate the findings, ensure that no comments or suggestions can be attributed to one employee. As well, connect decisions that you make to the stay interviews. For example, maybe you decide to enhance your benefits package based on feedback that you receive. Of course, you will likely want to determine if changes will make financial sense. For example, let’s say that health and dental benefits will cost you $1,500/annually per employee, you believe that these benefits will reduce turnover by up to 50%, and the cost of turnover is $20,000 per employee. With a workforce of 20 staff where turnover is normally 20%, the math looks as follows:

Benefits cost: 20 x $1,500 = $30,000

Normal turnover cost: 4 staff (20% of 20) x $20,000 = $80,000

New turnover cost (with benefits): 2 (reduction of 50%) x $20,000 = $40,000

Benefits cost and new turnover cost ($70,000) is less than current turnover costs ($80,000), so providing benefits could positively impact the bottom line. It’s a rudimentary example, but you get the idea.

Focusing on stay interviews can provide you with some great insight, and investing the time and effort into this process can provide numerous benefits to your organization.


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