To-Stay Interview or To-Go Interview

Exit interviews are commonplace amongst most UK workforces, to determine what prompted an employee to leave and to provide a final chance to persuade them to stay. But the efficacy of its information is dwindled by the person’s impeding departure; it’s too late to solve problems and retain valuable employees. Oftentimes, offers to increase salary or enhance benefits are viewed as being too little-too late. This is more prominent in situations whereby an employee leaves due to concerns over the company culture or internal management. Therefore, a stay interview gives organisations the opportunity to assess what improvements can be made now, to avoid further resignations. They provide a more personal platform than what is currently in place from  engagement or satisfaction surveys. In turn, this allows for the building of trust between employees and managers. Both parties can collaboratively discuss ideas, with an opportune environment to ask follow-up questions or elaborate on answers. This 2-way dynamic is essential in getting to the root of problems and evaluating key issues and trends which warrant organisational change.

Typically conducted between a manager and employee, stay interviews give an overview of what encourages the person to stay, what improvements can be made and what may cause them to look for external opportunities. Early identification of issues and concerns, and taking action on them, contributes towards long-term retention, increased motivation and morale, improved productivity and overall success for both the business and its people.

There are no fixed rules on how stay interviews should be completed, so organisations can utilise them at their discretion. However, it has been widely recognised that annual interviews may be seen as insufficient, since a year is a considerable time period for issues to build up and chip away at employee satisfaction. Instead, holding a meeting 2-4 times per year can achieve optimal effectiveness. The interview itself can be completed in as little as 15-20 minutes and can have a different theme or focus each time.

Key questions to discuss in the interview include what employees look forward to and what they dread about work each day; whether they would recommend the company to others; what would tempt them to leave; what would make their role more satisfying; what their dream job would look like; what talents they’re not using in their current role; what keeps employees working there; and how they would like to be recognised and valued.

It's imperative for organisations to remember that staff will expect an outcome of their stay interview. Failure to provide one can have the opposite desired effect and lead to increased feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction amongst workforces. Employees may believe that their opinions and concerns are not valid, nor be worthy of deserved consideration, going against the core reasoning for conducting such interviews. As such, employers should be prepared to implement positive changes and, where changes are decided against, a detailed explanation should be clearly communicated to employees. This shows that the organisations value their people, and take on board their feedback, to provide measures which directly support them. 

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