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How To Retain Your Top Talent

16 September 2022 by Shweta Jhajharia

No business can truly achieve its potential without building a formidable team. Building requires a deliberate plan and the right leader to drive the team’s construction process. First, the leader needs to lay the foundation and then procure all the correct elements while spending time putting all the pieces together to create a team that wins.

What is a “Stay Interview”?

One of the critical tools for retaining top talent in your team is the “Stay Interviews” concept.

A stay interview is conducted by a human resource (HR) manager to determine the needs of a vital team member. A stay interview is the opposite of an exit interview and helps a company to retain top talent by discovering if they are happy at their jobs and what adjustments are needed to keep them happy. Stay interviews also help an organisation avoid the cost of hiring new talent. Instead, HR can channel this cost to assisting high-flyers to stay happily. It is important to note that the cost of losing a high-flyer is not just the replacement cost but the cost to train the new talent and the cost of the experience and historical knowledge walking out the door that is not quantifiable.

In the short-term, stay interviews reduce churn. In the long-term, they improve the organisation’s culture because they communicate that the leaders are interested in the team and are happy to make adjustments to suit the people delivering the work, which leads to increased profitability in a sustainable environment.

Is a stay interview important?

Over the last few months, we have discovered a concept called “The Great Resignation”. 

According to some research carried out by Hays– a leading recruitment firm in the UK, 37% of the global workforce say their companies are asking too much of them at a time like this. One in five think their employer doesn’t care about their work-life balance. 54% feel overworked, and 39% feel exhausted. 

It is also important to know the “great resignation” is also due to the fact that information is more available than ever. Job-seekers are pretty confident that they will find another opportunity given the availability of the internet and technology tools geared towards helping them find their next role.

All the data and information reveal why retaining top talent is a major differentiating factor for leading organisations.

How to conduct a stay interview

  1. Have a plan: Stay interviews should be conducted periodically on a planned schedule.
  2. “Stay interviews” should be prioritised based on the importance of the individual to the organisation. Here is a sample hierarchy plan for stay interviews, but you should adapt to your organisation and situation.
    1. The best performers across the organisation
    2. Individuals in roles that will be difficult to replace
    3. Team members that best reflect the team culture you are building
    4. Everyone else

Questions to Ask in a Stay Interview

Employees usually do not like to answer questions during interviews. Many of them feel that answers provided in the past led to a less than favourable response from their line managers. So many employees will approach these sessions from a place of caution.

It is essential to explain what a stay interview is and what the possible outcomes are. It would help if you informed them how valued they are and that you are seeking opportunities to make their stay more comfortable. After you have explained the reason for the stay interview, here are some questions to help you discover their state of mind and ideas to help them become more comfortable and productive.

  • Are you happy with us? In your role and with the company?
  • What are the best and worst parts of your job?
  • How can I help you find more satisfaction in your job?
  • Are there things that we can do to help you achieve your career goals?
  • Have you considered leaving? Why?
  • What changes will you make to your role if you could?
  • Are there things you will recommend we change about the company?
  • Do you see yourself in this organisation for the next few years? Why?
  • What can the business do to make you feel better appreciated?
  • Will you inform me if you are considering making a move before you make a final decision?

Note: Many of these questions can only be discussed in an environment that thrives on trust and where employees already feel valued.

What to do after a stay interview

It is crucial to act on the information from the interview sessions. Beyond allowing employees to share their thoughts and ‘vent’, not taking any steps after the process does not leave the organisation in the same place but makes the situation worse as trust depreciates.

One of the most important things after a stay interview is communicating effectively. Be upfront about the issues that can change. For example, when a request is beyond the line manager’s capacity, the line manager should tell the employee that he will take it to senior management or human resources. Likewise, if the request is not likely to get approved, there is a need to be upfront and sincere. A quick no is much better than a drawn-out process that ends in a yes. Communication is crucial to success in the stay interview process – retaining the best talents.

It is also essential to inform employees that you are looking for two broad areas to make changes. The first are areas that affect the entire team as a collective, while the second is specific requests to ensure that each employee is more comfortable.

 

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References:

Why You Should Conduct Stay Interviews to Retain Top Talent – Workest (zenefits.com)
https://www.zenefits.com/workest/why-you-should-conduct-stay-interviews-to-retain-top-talent/

Stop Holding Exit Interviews — Hold ‘Stay’ Interviews Instead – Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/06/10/stop-holding-exit-interviews-hold-stay-interviews-instead/

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Shweta Jhajharia

Shweta Jhajharia is one of the leading authorities on Business Value Building and the creator of the unique 6M Model. Shweta is widely respected as an impactful, intelligent and results orientated professional who helps business leaders unleash their potential to reach meaningful, higher objectives. This realisation of potential and maximisation... Read more
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