Want to Keep Your Best Employees? Don’t Wait for the Exit Interview…

Managers beware: You have to fight for the employees you want. It’s an ongoing war for talent, and as the job market keeps getting better, it’ll only get more intense. So be ready to take action… before your competitors come after your top talent. But how? What will it take to win the battle, to protect and keep your most valuable people?

By fostering communication—with stay interviews.

These regular meetings open up discussion for need-to-know information, for what motivates your key performers and what keeps them at the organization—even if they’re offered a higher salary elsewhere. Because top talent is being sought out, and they are being offered better salaries. Remember, it’s a war out there, and you need the intel to stay ahead.

So put on a brave face, because you can’t be afraid to hear negative feedback. Stay interviews act as performance reviews on the company, and they’re an easy way to spot and correct bad habits, ones that might be causing your best people to walk out.

Here are five reasons why companies should conduct stay interviews:

1. To Reveal Motivators

Stay interviews divulge what matters to each individual. Some managers mistakenly use a one-size-fits-all formula to incentivize employees. Situations vary. A parent might want more flexible hours to fulfill family obligations, while a single person prefers a salary increase. Employees appreciate different things, and if managers wish to retain them, they should be having these conversations frequently to find out who wants what and how they can best fulfill those wishes.

2. To Spot Red Flags

Stay interviews should be done once a manager recognizes a high-potential employee. This can be as early as the first 60 to 90 days on the job. By conducting them in a timely fashion, managers can better understand what the employee’s needs are and can spot signs of dissatisfaction—early. Ideally an employee’s wants will be heard proactively, instead of in a reactive exit interview.

3. To Prevent Turnover

The main purpose of a stay interview is to retain talent, but it also helps companies know sooner if an employee is on their way out. This gives managers enough time to refill the position and helps lessen the blow. As a result, companies aren’t left understaffed and employees aren’t overworked.

4. To Engage Staff

For many companies, the strongest retention tool is showing staff that they matter. By setting up time to discuss what makes them happy, that’s exactly what managers are doing. Whether they are on the job for one month or five years, stay interviews engage and motivate staff. When employees feel invested in the company, productivity soars.

5. To Gain Trust

Stay interviews help build trust between employers and newly hired employees who show potential.  Without trust, a worker may be more apt to leave after a short time if offered a seemingly better opportunity. But if they are given the chance to voice concerns in a safe environment, that trust will be quickly followed by loyalty.

The No. 1 reason people quit their jobs is because they feel underappreciated. Find out what aspects of on-the-job contentment you need to embrace for happy employees.


Sirmara Campbell Twohill is the chief human resources officer at LaSalle Network and has more than 15 years of experience in the staffing and recruiting industry. Sirmara has a B.A. from Columbia College Chicago.

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