Standardize The Stay Interview

In an article posted on Talent earlier this month, Frank Kalman, associate editor of Talent Management magazine, notes the importance of measuring engagement levels with a stay interview. What is a stay interview? The title is more daunting than the reality, as it’s simply an informal conversation. It’s an interaction in which managers talk to their direct reports – and it’s one of the best ways to measure engagement among your employees.

When thinking of the best ways to measure employee engagement, the best tactic probably doesn’t come to mind. It’s much simpler than traditional, formal HR practices. It is the stay interview. The stay interview is different from the exit interview and the performance review. The exit interview occurs when an employee is on the way out, and the performance review is traditionally an annual assessment of the employee’s performance.

What’s the focus of the stay interview? Well … it’s the most important question to ask of top-talent and high-performers. It’s a simple enough question, ‘What can we do to make you stay?’, but it is a question that resonates. It’s not just a feedback kind of question, it also plants a little ‘stay’ seed in the employee’s head and increases retention levels.

The stay interview is perhaps a manager’s most honest grip on engagement. It’s a one-on-one meeting with a front-line manager and a direct report to gain insight on that employee’s perspective on the organization’s key engagement drivers, and to learn which of those drivers need fixing to retain top talent.

Here are a few tidbits to make the stay interview most effective: once or twice a year is sufficient for the stay interview, and it doesn’t have to be executed in the office. This type of interaction is based on comfort levels and can be had in a space outside of the work environment. And the quickest, easiest way to make this interaction successful is to simply ask your employee, “What could we do to make you stay?”

Caution is necessary, however, as posing a question in the wrong light can lead to the wrong type of communication. Engage your employees with a very open approach. And be sure to separate the stay interview from other discussions about performance. The focus here is to see how the job is going from the employee’s perspective, not your managerial perspective.

Stay interviews for top-talent could be as frequent as twice a year, but should be more frequent for new hires. Have stay interviews after the first 30, 60 and 90 days on the job and be sure that the interview is a one-on-one and not a group discussion.

If your organization implements stay interviews, one of the biggest keys is to be sure that there is a large degree of trust. Your managers need to attain high levels of trust with your employees, and stay interviews are a good way to build that trust level. To learn more about stay interviews and how to implement them within your organization, click here to read the full article.

Post a comment