Stay Interviews – The latest Breakthrough in Human Resources
1. What is a Stay Interview? How did this concept come about?
As an HR expert rightly pointed out "Asking employees at the time of quitting why they are leaving is like asking your spouse how to improve a marriage on the day before the divorce is final. By that time it's just too late. Stay interviews have been used all along but under different nomenclature - in the form of appraisal and consulting sessions. "These are an employee sensing exercise, to detect early warning signals, to know about compensatory expectations so that the company can make a proactive correction at the right time before the employee announces that he's leaving. So, it's almost like preventive health care.Stay interviews are conducted to understand the reasons why employees wish to continue working for the organization. It's all about their work, the environment, the practices and the people that appeal to them and motivate them to stay on. Stay interviews are held to understand the issues an employee may be facing, get his feedback from time to time while he's still at the job. It helps give food for thought to an HR Manager as to what may possibly be wrong and the scope of improvement. Stay interview is a preventive tool in employee retention strategy, which appreciates the existing best practices for horizontal deployment in the organization. This concept came with the findings of the fact “that different people stay with organization for different reasons”. Which may get un-noticed or uncovered in the “top to down driven” strategy. Firms can use stay interviews for those in key positions, for targeted "at risk" individuals or do a random sample.
2. What is the need of a Stay Interview?
Companies these days understand the need for constant engagement with employees. Stay interviews for them have become an indispensable tool to retain their workforce by making employees feel appreciated and motivated. These interviews could prove to be crucial as they may actually bring forth an issue that the manager may have hitherto ignored. They can be used to judge if the expectations of the
employee has been met and the promises fulfilled. In short, stay interviews help a company corrects certain things before an employee decides not to work with it anymore. There is appreciation from employees for the recognition of their successes, skills and competencies. They feel empowered as contributors to the organization's strengths and successes and feel a part of the process of actively involving themselves. This approach is very positive and empowering for teams too. Team members learn and grow together based on understanding the positive influences they have on each other and how they support each other in their respective growths and the growth of the organization. The need of stay interview was felt when the corrective action taken after exit interview was not able to contribute much on identifying the real cause of attrition. In some of the
cases when the decision was deferred by addressing the “significant few” reasons of quitting the job the “insignificant many” tends to piles up to backfire
3. How it is different from traditional Exit interview?
In human resource terms, An Exit Interview is a survey that is conducted with an employee when he or she leaves the company. The information from each survey is used to provide feedback on why employees are leaving, what they liked about their employment and what areas of the company need improvement. Exit interviews are most effective when the data is compiled and tracked over time.
Contrary to exit interviews, Stay Interviews are conducted to understand the reasons why employees wish to continue working for the organization. It's all about their work, the environment, the practices and the people that appeal to them and motivate them to stay
on. Stay interviews should be conducted once in six months. However, this depends on the size of the organization. For a small organization, it could be within three months and for a huge set-up it could be six months. Unlike exit interviews, stay interviews are conducted with a random selection of employees who have been with the organization for at least 6 Months. The selected employees respond to questions about the job, their supervisor, employee benefits, working conditions
and communications. They are also asked why they stay with the hospital and what suggestions they have to improve the work environment. Traditional exit interviews focuses on the reasons of disassociation in the form of gathering data while capturing some of the best practices of the organization that the employee is still
in praise of. While the stay interviews keep the atmosphere congenial and create a positive vibe that the organization is appreciating their association and gives the input for horizontal deployment of the best practices. It does work as a proactive tool and brings in predictive
maintenance approach to employee retention
4. What should an ideal stay interview focus on?
The concept of stay interviews is a positive and empowering approach. “Stay interviews focus on what is going right, rather than what went wrong”. This is highly relevant in the Indian context where every industry is making a hue and cry about the challenge they face in attracting and retaining the right talent.
Stay interview questions could include:
What do you like about your work?
What would make you to stay here?
What makes for a great day at work?
What do you want to learn this year?
Is there anything you’d like to change about your job?
How about your team or department?
Am I using your talents? Fully?
That would make your job more satisfying and rewarding?
Do you feel supported in your career goals?
Do you feel we recognize you? What kind of recognition do you like?
What has made the employee for his continuing service at the
What does he find as an impediment to his further association.
Employee’s career aspiration vis-à-vis career progression plan of the
organization for that employee.
Practices that is worth horizontally deployed.
Any open suggestions, if any.
5. Do stay interviews benefit the organization or the particular employee? If yes, what are its advantages?
Stay interview helps an organization to identify the areas of improvement. While the key to better personal health may lie in healthy diet and exercise, the secret to better health for business organizations may be in frequent workplace "health checks". An organization should proactively undertake workplace check-ups in the form of "Stay Interviews" in order to identify and address potential issues before they affect workplace morale and potential loss of staff.
The main benefit is that you are able to identify issues and problems at an early stage before they have reached crisis point and are causing high staff turnover.In this staffshortage climate, companies can ill afford to ”Hide their heads in the sand"- with stay interviews providing a safe environment to air concerns.Stay interview does help both the organization and the employees. Organization gets to know its gray areas that are paralyzing its people and give a mechanism for collecting
feedback on its popular & unpopular policies & practices. Employees get to share their concerns before their concerns influence their decision for continuing association or dissociation with the organization
“Stay interviews provide a snapshot of employee satisfaction, identify potential issues before they occur and reduce the risk of employees resigning.”
Interviewing a cross-section of the staff regularly will help employers pick up on any trends and, should any of those be of concern, means more work can be done to avert problems. The interviews cover the employee's role, their relationship with the manager and immediate work colleagues and what, if anything, is holding them back from performing at a higher level.
"Losing knowledgeable and trained staff in this market is incredibly costly in terms of the intellectual property they take with them, the cost of re-hiring and the impact on productivity because of low morale.”
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