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Questions to Ask in Stay Interviews

by Jody Ordioni

Questions to Ask in Stay Interviews

In a fast-moving, competitive job market, employers cannot afford to wait for the employees to leave to understand the reason behind it. Studies indicate that 42% of employees wish to leave their current work situation within the next year. Therefore, companies simply do not have the time to delay any action to prevent employees from leaving.

Stay interviews offer significant insights that can help with employee engagement and retention. Incorporating stay interviews into retention strategies can help point out what the employees want, instead of them looking for alternative options. A stay interview is not a one-on-one interview, wherein you convince a departing employee to stay. Rather, it is an in-person meeting with a long-term employee to understand what is causing them to disengage from the company. Some relevant questions to ask during stay interviews are:

At what time, within the past year, they felt frustrated or anxious?

Anything that disturbs the employees has to be removed from the company culture. Answers to the question above would help to identify problems that are serious and stand out the most for employees. Make sure to understand the source of the employee's frustration. Once you have a firm grasp on what the problem is, ensure that you take into consideration any solution the employee might have to alleviate this particular stress. This line of question can help employers explore the triggers that make employees leave their company and look for other employment opportunities.

What does your dream job seem like?

The vagueness of the question works in favor of the interviewers since each employee answers with whatever is the most meaningful to them. Employers can glean what the employees feel most stressed about in their work situation and make a note to evaluate the problem, thereby, helping to establish a work-life balance for the employees. The dream job can encompass many characteristics; for example, an employee may want a cross-functional role that involves regular communication. This can indicate that they feel siloed in their current position. Employers should take into consideration the aspirations of the employees.

What is it about your last job/employer that you miss?

It is important to evaluate the nitty-gritty of an employee's roles and responsibilities. Managers should get to know what employees expect from their jobs and anything they find lacking. Steps to understand this lacuna will lead managers to improve the day-to-day experience of employees. Surveys in this regard can help you bring in changes to the company culture, perks, flexibility in schedule and office atmosphere. A holistic picture of the shortcomings of the system would lead to better strategies being implemented to bring in changes.

What do the employees think about it?

The change in an employee's mindset when they are traveling to and from work provides a significant insight into whether they are happy within the company or not. Mostly, if employees are happy, they tend to think positively about work or focus their attention on other tasks as well. However, if the employees have negative thoughts when coming to or leaving the office, it can be a cause for concern as it indicates dissatisfaction and dread, about the work. Employers should focus on the mental health of the employees and try to dissipate any tension regarding work.

How can managers make employee experience better?

Stay interviews should ideally be conducted by direct managers as they possess the greatest potential to enact meaningful changes for the employees. A stay interview has multiple objectives. Firstly, it should focus on learning the aspects of the company that employees enjoy. Secondly, understand the factors that cause distress to the employees. Lastly, there should be clear two-way communication channels. Managers should establish trust within the employees, which can lead to better clarity in communication and convey the problems of the employees more easily to the upper levels.

The Bottom Line

Stay interviews, when done correctly, can impact the retention rates positively. The data that is collected has to be implemented properly. Failure to act promptly would imply to the employees that the company is disingenuous and cheapens the authenticity of the stay interviews. It is the responsibility of the leaders to take action on the feedback shared.

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