October 5, 2012

Retaining Talent Through Stay Interviews

Senior Businessman shaking hands with colleagueDuring my senior year of college I interned with Avnet Inc., a global electronics distributor. For four consecutive years (2009-12) Avnet was named no.1 of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired” Companies and as I worked there, I started to see why. So many of its employees have been with the company for years. One lady I met in the finance department has been working at Avnet for 29 years; this is her first and only job. After meeting person after person who had worked for the company for multiple decades, I began to wonder why did they stay? Most people switch jobs numerous times in their careers, but what keeps those who work for just one company year after year, decade after decade?

Most employers conduct ‘pre-position’ interviews to determine if a candidate is right for the job. Some hold exit interviews when a person leaves the company. Why not do a stay interview with current employees to see the reasons behind his or her commitment?

A stay interview has many benefits for not only employers, but employees as well. Companies will be able to discover why its employees haven’t sought new opportunities or employment with other companies, which can tell companies its strengths as an employer. These interviews will also show employers areas they can improve upon as employees voice their concerns. This can greatly affect retention and turnover rates.

In a one-on-one setting, interviewees have the chance to ask questions, describe their career goals and explain their likes and dislikes of their positions and working within the company as a whole. Many times, especially at larger businesses, employees can feel overlooked and unappreciated. Conducting stay interviews is a great way to show workers how valuable they are to a company.

Stay interviews are not just for lower-level workers, but managers and supervisors should be interviewed as well. This will not only ensure the manager/supervisor receives the opportunity to be engaged by the company, but understands the proper way to conduct stay interviews with his or her team.

If common issues or concerns arise during interviews, employers can send out messages detailing how the companies plan to address them. Department specific issues can be addressed during team meetings or one-on-one, if the situation permits. The follow up is the key to stay interviews’ success, especially if an employee voiced a concern. Following through helps employees know you were fully engaged during the interview and are committed to keeping them in your company. Every worker needs to feel valued and know they mean something to the company they work for. The stay interview method does just that.

Below are 15 possible stay interview questions to get you started:

  • Why have you stayed working for this company as long as you have? Reason(s)?
  • What do you like best about your job? Least?
  • What are specific reasons that could cause you to leave us?
  • Do you think your current position fully utilizes your talents?
  • What have you learned since working here?
  • Do you have anything new you would like to learn this year?
  • Is there anything you’d like to change about your job? Team? Department?
  • Have you ever considered leaving? What caused it? Has it been resolved?
  • What is your dream job? How can our company support your progress toward it?
  • Do you feel supported in your career goals?
  • Do you feel we recognize you? If not, what kind of recognition would be meaningful for you?
  • What is one thing that would make your job more satisfying and rewarding?
  • What part of your role is most challenging? What is least challenging?
  • Do you feel you are best suited for your position or do you feel better suited for a different one?
  • What can I do to help you stay longer?

Read more in Retention

Marks’ stories have also been published in a variety of newspaper, magazine and online formats including The Arizona Republic, The Daily Herald, Arizona Foothills Magazine and various classroom magazines of Scholastic Inc. Service is her passion, writing is her platform and uplifting and inspiring the community is her purpose. Marks received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University.
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