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The best way to find out what your employees want and how to retain them is to ask them. Ask questions to gauge how you're meeting your employee's expectations. Not just "How's it going?", but specific questions to get specific answers. Explore why these people remain with your company. Why did they join the organization? How well are their objectives or dreams being fulfilled? Which aspects of their work do they enjoy the most? Which do they least enjoy? Are they receiving sufficient opportunities for growth and development? What would influence them to look elsewhere?
The stay interview is a one-on-one interview between a manager and a valued employee. Its aim, quite simply, is to learn what makes employees want to keep working for you. Likewise, it is designed to elicit what might motivate them to leave. In an effective 30-minute stay interview, managers ask standard, structured questions casually and conversationally. It's not a performance discussion but rather a "let me get to know you and your goals" discussion.
The stay interview is an opportunity to build trust with employees and a chance to assess the degree of employee satisfaction and engagement that exists in a department or company. Stay interviews are preferable to employee satisfaction surveys because they: provide a two-way conversation and a chance to ask questions, get a more in-depth understanding of that employee's current motivation, and offer managers the opportunity to quickly reinforce the positives and deal with the employee's concerns.
A recent Harvard Business Review article 'How to Keep Your Top Talent' warns that 25% of your top talent plans to jump ship in the next year. The results for engagement and effort are even more alarming since about a third of employees surveyed admit to phoning it in at work. That's bad news if you believe that staying competitive relies on the passion, drive, and creative energy of talented people. Many firms use exit interviews to find out why employees are leaving their jobs. Unfortunately, asking an employee on their last day "why are you leaving?" doesn't provide useful information in time to prevent the turnover.
A superior approach is a "stay interview" because it occurs before there is any hint that an employee is about to exit the firm. A stay interview helps managers understand why employees stay so that those important factors can be reinforced. They also signal frustrations that can be nipped in the bud before they drive the employee to start looking elsewhere. The benefits of stay interviews:
Marcia Zidle is a board-certified executive coach, business management consultant and keynote speaker, who works with organizations to leverage their leadership and human capital assets that result in higher performance and profitability. She has 25 years of management, business consulting and international experience in a variety of industries including health care, financial services, oil and gas, manufacturing, insurance, pharmaceuticals, hospitality, government, and non-profits.
Marcia brings an expertise in strategy and alignment; social and emotional intelligence; executive and team leadership; employee engagement and innovation; personal and organization change management. She has been selected as one of LinkedIn Provider's top leadership and career coaches for 2017 and 2018.