Should your organization use Stay Interviews?

By December 2, 2013Retain
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Over at, Dr. John Sullivan wrote about the benefits of using stay interviews to boost employee retention.

He defines a stay interview as “a periodic one-on-one structured retention interview between a manager and a highly valued “at-risk-of-leaving employee” that identifies and then reinforces the factors that drive an employee to stay. It also identifies and minimizes any “triggers” that might cause them to consider quitting.”

Unlike exit interviews, which tend to be more reactive, (i.e. the employee has already made the decision before the company was able to address the needs of the employee), stay interviews are a cost-effective way of holding on to talent. However, one question remains:

Does your organization need a stay interview strategy?

In general, stay interviews are definitely a nice-to-have, but the following are just a few of the situations in which stay interviews should be integrated into a company’s overall talent strategy.

1. Presence of high-performing employees
The high performers – all organizations have theirs. You should have a pretty good idea of who they are. A stay interview provides a great opportunity to learn what drives their passion and motivation, so that the company can encourage more of it.

2. Huge focus on technology (or requires another “in demand” skillset)
Engineers, programmers, and software developers are some of the hottest careers out there, with firms aggressively competing to hire new grads and experienced professionals alike. Because of this, many companies, especially those with business models heavily reliant on technology, work obsessively to retain this type of talent. Stay interviews can ensure that these types of workers are happy where they are, and if there’s any room for improvement, so that companies can address any issues before they get poached.

3. Company restructuring
A restructuring often includes the elimination of certain roles, which can lead to unhappy employees and a tense atmosphere. It is during this time of change that employers might need the remaining employees the most; however, this is also the time when many employees start to “jump ship”. A good stay interview strategy can help mitigate this.

4. Presence of millennials
With the ever popular discussion of how challenging it is to keep Generation Y workers satisfied in their roles, a stay interview provides the perfect opportunity to informally “check-in” with the young worker to gauge their engagement and listen to their feedback.

Overall, stay interviews are a great addition to any talent strategy, but in some cases, it’s a must if an organization wants to attract and retain key people.

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