Stay Interviews – A Powerful Retention Strategy

20 JUNE, 2017

Stay Interviews – A Powerful Retention Strategy

Conducting exit interviews is a common practice for many managers and most human resource departments. Through this practice, we gain insight into why employees decide to leave our employment. Unfortunately, this reactive insight is typically too late to ameliorate current turnover. So, how do we shift approaches from reaction (evaluating turnover) to proaction (encouraging retention)?

Consider “Stay Interviews”

Instead of studying why employees leave, stay interviews study why employees stay. When done properly, the insight gained can supply rich and valuable data to improve engagement and enhance benefit offerings, as well as, identify triggers causing employees to leave. For example, a stay interview with a high performing sales manager may reveal that she really misses the after-work team gatherings; or, she really wants to improve her skills so she can shift into revenue management; or, she’s frustrated at her benefit cost because she’s misusing her options. Early awareness creates a golden opportunity to not only make timely improvements but also make changes that yield the greatest impact.

How to Begin?  

Hospitality Benefits suggests identifying your key or hardest to fill positions, current high-performers who are critical to company success, and any high-potential employees crucial to future company goals. With this group in mind, simply begin an informal, one-on-one dialogue. Ask about the work environment, your company benefit offerings, and what would make the individual happier on the job.

Suggested Stay Questions

  • What do you enjoy most about your job?
  • If you could change anything about work, what would it be?
  • What improvements would you like to see in our benefit program?
  • How can we improve our training offerings?
  • Is there anything in particular that you would like to learn this year?

Although structured as “interviews,” inquiring into high performers’ reasons for staying is an informal exchange that encourages feedback to better understand employees’ feelings about their work environment and motivation for success. While stay interviews may enhance your overall engagement plan, they are not intended to replace engagement surveys or group feedback sessions. The goal of stay interviews is to identify retention strategies focused on your costliest, hardest to fill positions and your most critical employees. After all, isn’t the best hiring decision the one you never have to make?

As hospitality employers vie for top talent in an increasingly competitive job market, offering a benefit program that resonates and is understood can be a differentiator. For more information on developing an effective benefit program and communications strategy, or to run a complimentary hospitality benchmarking report for your employee population, please contact Hospitality Benefits at 703-810-3700 or  [email protected].