Interviews are no longer just for potential new hires. A lot of employers are choosing to implement stay and/or exit interviews. The difference between the two is that stay interviews are kind of like preventive check-ups; making sure everything is good and, if it's not, finding a resolution. Exit interviews, on the other hand, are performed with employees who are leaving an organization, and, while it may be too late to be beneficial to the departing employee, they may help the company realize the need for change.
Communication is one of the most powerful employment tools, and stay interviews - if carried out correctly - are a great way to build trust and demonstrate to employees that they are valued. If your organization decides to go down the path of implementing stay interviews, it is of paramount importance that you're prepared to really hear the responses and implement changes that result from the conversations. It may not be possible to do stay interviews with all employees, depending on the size of your organization. If this is the case, choose your participants carefully. Making sure to include all departments, employees that have been with the organization for a long time, those that have just completed their new hire orientation or probationary period, as well as some in between these two time frames. It is important to remember - and remind participating employees - that these conversations are not performance reviews and that only honest feedback can help improve the culture. The stay interviews should be centered around questions like:
- What is your favorite part of your job?
- What motivates you to stay with the company?
- What de-motivates you?
- What causes stress at work for you?
- If you could change just one part of your job, what would it be?
- Which of your talents are being underutilized?
Additionally, you can discuss company benefits and ideas of potential perks that could be added. Stay interviews should be conducted on a regular basis and a commitment to take action should be demonstrated to improve the culture and employee retention.
Exit interviews are typically the last opportunity employers have to communicate openly with employees that are leaving the organization. It’s a chance to ask open-ended questions like the following:
- Why are you leaving?
- What three things did you enjoy most about working here?
- What three things would you change about working here?
- What skills do you think are critical for your replacement to possess?
- What advice would you give the next person in your position?
- What tools and training were you provided that were necessary to do your job to the best of your ability?
It will be important to look for patterns in responses to exit interview questions. This will help develop an action plan to retain highly valued employees. The best way to assess patterns in both stay and exit interviews is to capture the information collected in the Human Resources module of your Human Capital Management system. This will also create a record of the interaction that can be reviewed at a later date, allowing Human Resources personnel a view in to what employees are thinking - and how the organization is changing - over time.
Stay and exit interviews each bring their own benefits. Employee feedback gained during both stay and exit interviews can provide valuable insight and information needed to help with employee morale, retention, satisfaction, training, and growth opportunities.