4 Reasons to Stick with Stay Interviews

4 Reasons to Stick with Stay Interviews

“She sighed. Mark, her best performer, was resigning. She knew that he had some issues–didn’t everyone? But she didn’t realize the extent of the damage until it was too late. Now with Mark’s departure her team would not only be short-staffed, but also missing a key player with valuable industry knowledge that couldn’t easily be replaced.”

Virtually every manager has experienced a version of this story, and it’s almost always a painful lesson in too little, too late. Employees want to do great work, and they want to feel valued for their contributions, but companies are often out of touch with what the individual employees need. The resulting frustration can build up over time, leading to unnecessary turnover. That’s where stay interviews can be incredibly powerful tools for not only tapping into the issues and opportunities affecting the workforce, but also for creating a work environment that helps employees be productive and engaged.

What is a Stay Interview?

Stay interviews, at the core, are exploratory surveys of your current employee population. The goal is to get to the bottom of what drives retention or contributes to turnover. It’s important to note that the stay interview is much more qualitative than a normal feedback survey. According to Casey Holcom, a consultant at People Element, the data from stay interview research allows companies to truly understand the drivers of retention and turnover in the workplace.

“Rather than simply providing questions on a Likert scale (from strongly disagree to strongly agree), the vast majority of stay survey questions are qualitative, meaning respondents can answer questions in their own words, which can provide a much deeper insight into satisfiers/dissatisfiers and the tipping points that lead to turnover.”

For instance, understanding the level of satisfaction with a manager’s performance or style is quite different from understanding the specific behaviors the manager uses to create a positive (or negative) work experience. And more importantly, the stay interview data is more actionable because it’s highly specific.

Some of this sounds similar to what you might expect from an engagement survey, but the practices are quite different. According to Holcom, “An engagement survey is much more broad and asks questions around many different factors to determine how satisfied respondents are around x/y/z. Stay surveys get to the heart of...

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