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Matthew Moorehead | 8 April 2022

The Good Guide to: Stay Interviews

The Good Guides Series

It has never been more important to look after and hold on to your awesome people. The job market is booming and there is a talent shortage so if your brilliant people walk out the door, replacing them will take time and cost money. Therefore, retention of key talent is close to the top of your priority list. With that in mind, we wanted to share with you a cool activity - Stay Interviews.

Stay Interviews are not necessarily a new concept, but they are definitely rising in importance considering the current working environment, and can form a critical part of your overall talent strategy. They can strengthen your retention plans, not only for key individuals, but for the organisation as a whole. For our Good Guides series, we wanted to share with you what Stay Interviews are, why you should do them, and some tips on how.

What are Stay Interviews?

A Stay Interview is a conversation, typically with your key talent, to understand what keeps them at your organisation and what they would like to see improve or change, to reduce the likelihood of them leaving. You might think of them as Exit Interviews, but conducted before someone resigns, to seek feedback on the employee experience.

Why do them?

It is another way to connect with your great people, to build relationships, to gain an understanding of different perspectives, with the purpose of seeking feedback and retaining talent.

The Stay Interview provides those you value with an opportunity to have their say. One to one conversations seeking the opinions of key people will provide you with rich insights into the employee experience at your organisation, and the person being interviewed will likely appreciate your proactive approach and the chance to contribute about their future.

The Stay Interview can form part of the overall feedback strategy for your organisation, alongside engagement surveys, pulse checks, exit interviews, new joiner interviews etc.

Who should run Stay Interviews?

This will depend on your organisation, but typically it might be the people leader, or a member of the P&C / HR team, or someone with people responsibilities from the Executive team. It can also be a ‘skip-level’ leader, where the manager’s manager of your talent will conduct the Stay interview.

The most important factor when considering who should conduct Stay Interviews, is the relationship. The person being interviewed needs to be talking to someone they trust and a person they can provide honest feedback to. This means it might not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and should be tailored depending on the person being interviewed.

Who should be interviewed?

Again, this will depend on the organisation, but we would encourage you to think about who is critical for the organisation’s strategy now, and in the future. Ask yourself who would you hate to lose, and then go and talk to them.

What questions can I ask?

The questions you ask will need to be appropriate for your context and environment, but here are some to get you started:

  • What do you love about your job?
  • What parts of your job do you least enjoy?
  • Tell us what part of your role you would like to change?
  • What keeps you here?
  • What would entice you to look for another opportunity elsewhere?
  • What is one thing you would love to see us improve / change?

Questions can also be targeted so you receive feedback for the specific initiatives and activities your organisation have been implementing to enhance employee engagement. By asking these questions, you receive real-time feedback, and can use this information to adjust and change plans accordingly.

What do I do with the information?

When considering conducting Stay Interviews, think about what you will do with the feedback. Is it confidential? How will changes be implemented as a result of feedback? Will themes that arise be shared? The most important thing to remember, is if you say that you are going to do something, then you need to do it. Also, on the flip side, do not make promises that can’t be kept! Finally, let the person you are talking with know what will happen with the information they have shared.

If you run a number of Stay Interviews across your organisation, you may pick up consistent themes that highlight more complex areas that need changing. At Humankind, we strongly believe that co-creating solutions with your teams enhances engagement and makes the workplace a better place to be, so consider how you might involve your teams when wanting to make changes.

One of our clients has been running Stay Interviews for the last couple of years, and they recently told us how they have been able to mitigate retention risk early, rather than reacting to a situation where it is often too late to turn it around. They also said that the Stay Interviews have directly contributed to adjusting their people engagement plans so they are meeting their people’s needs.

Ultimately, the Stay Interview is another opportunity for you to connect and have a conversation with your talent. In our virtual environment, personal connection has never been as important. So, if there is someone you would hate to lose, have a conversation with them and find out what you can do to keep them. This conversation could help you retain your top talent, and enhance the overall employee experience for where you work. Win-win!

If you haven’t tried Stay Interviews, give it a go, and if you need any help or advice, please get in touch.

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