In a healthy economy, employee retention can quickly become a top issue for any company. Employees are more confident in making jumps, often for higher salaries, but also for the hope of a better cultural fit. The expense of replacing them grows exponentially, though often there are organizational changes that could be made at much lower cost. One of the easiest ways to take the pulse of your organization is to conduct stay interviews.

A stay interview involves a one-on-one meeting between a manager and a valued employee, to learn what makes the employee want to keep working for the organization. It can also make you aware of issues that could lead to employee departures. If enough stay interviews are conducted in a short period of time, your company can rapidly learn the hot-button issues to consider.

To obtain valuable, actionable results, a stay interview could include some of the following questions:

  • What factors contribute to your doing great work?
  • Are there aspects of the organization you are proud of?
  • If you have previously turned down another offer, what made you stay?
  • Do you feel supported and respected by both coworkers and managers?
  • Are all your skills being utilized to the best potential?
  • What would your dream job consist of?
  • What is most challenging about your role?
  • Is there anything you’d like to change about your job?
  • What would make your job more satisfying and rewarding?
  • Do you feel the organization sufficiently recognizes excellent performance?
  • When have you felt frustrated in the last year or two with the company or with your position?
  • Have other employees complained to you about the organization (please maintain anonymity)?
  • What made you leave positions in the past?

Consider outsourcing your stay interviews to a third party. Research shows that up to 40% of your data will change between an internal and external stay interview, as people are often more willing to be open and honest about their concerns with someone outside their organization. A third party will create a structure to collect consistent, actionable data, and compile that data into a report that is useful to your organization so that you can focus on implementing change.  In addition, it will show your employees that you are truly taking their concerns under consideration by outsourcing this to a third-party.

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