The Art of the Stay Interview

Interview
Interview (Photo credit: smiling_da_vinci)

Does your company perform stay interviews? If not, they may be missing a valuable resource; to learn how employees really feel — and perhaps discover the secret of profitability!

No one will dispute the importance of a good interview; it can be the core of a company’s recruitment strategy.

In fact, good hiring practices—highlighted by a strong interview process—can have an impact on the general health of an organization, including primary metrics such as employee engagement and low turnover rates.

It should be no surprise that happy workers are the heart of a successful company. The numbers prove it; companies with higher employee involvement are up to three times more profitable than those with less satisfied workers.

Employee of the Month Reserved Parking Sign
Employee of the Month Reserved Parking Sign (Photo credits: myparkingsign.com)

However, in most companies, once the employee is hired, the interview process is finished.

Interviews should have a role in every step of the employee cycle—from initial hiring to the exit interview.  More radical organizations are taking it one step further—with stay interviews.

What is a “stay interview?” They are a recurring dialogue with existing employees, as a way of keeping a tab on the concerns and ambitions of workers.

Companies that utilize the stay interview use them to take the pulse of the organization. Think of them as holding a mirror to see what you are doing right, or what (if anything) you can do to improve.

Like employment and exit interviews, a practical stay interview can provide a wealth of information, but only by asking the right questions.

Examples of the best topics for discussion in a stay interview are listed below. Use employee responses as a blueprint for ways to keep your workers happy and productive:

  • What makes for a great day at work?
  • What are the things you like about your work?
  • What keeps you motivated?
  • What do you like best/least about the job?
  • Is there something new you want to learn this year?
  • What can be done differently to best help you?
  • What would you like to change about your current job?
  • Are there things you would like to change about your co-workers, group or department?
  • Is there one thing that could make your job more enjoyable and rewarding?
  • Is there anything causing you to consider leaving the company? Has it been resolved?
  • What is your ideal job, and how can we help your progress toward it?
  • Do you feel encouraged  in your career goals?
  • Do you feel you receive recognition in your job?
  • What kind of recognition would be most relevant?

While conducting stay interviews, the most notable thing to keep in mind is to make the employee feel comfortable. They should feel free to articulate their deepest concerns, without fear of repercussion.  This means respect on both sides of the desk. Above all, motives should be clear, to begin a discussion of how things on the job can be improved.

When stay interviews become a valuable tool in the Human Resources department’s arsenal, you can better maintain your most productive employees.