6 Stay Interview Challenges To Be Aware Of

by Srikant Chellappa May 21,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

As per 2019 Work Institute Research, three in four employees who left the organization could have been retained. Out of every 100 workers:

22 leave for professional development
12 leave for work-life balance
11 leave in response to manager behavior

The report also states that these and other factors have led to a 7.6% increase in voluntary turnover since 2017 — a trend that’s adding “significant operational cost to companies, compromising growth and profit.” 

So is it possible to reduce the attrition rate and keep your employees from leaving the organization? Are exit interviews enough, or is it too late to convince your employees? The best way to do this is to ask employees what makes them stay, and so the process “Stay Interviews”. 

Stay interviews are generally conducted by a manager with their direct reports. The main focus of these interviews is, what motivates employees to stay. Employees discuss what they like and what they don’t about their current role and job position. Managers and organizations get meaningful data and insights, and understand what is working and what isn’t.

If correctly implemented, it will help in employee retention and be one of the most valuable measures of employee engagement. But if it’s not implemented properly, it can do more harm than good. In this article, we will discuss some of the challenges which organizations face while implementing stay interviews.

Time Consuming

Employees are always focused on chasing their goals irrespective of their job roles. They are involved in daily to-dos to stay on track with their quarterly or yearly goals and have no time to accommodate anything else.  But taking part in stay interviews is equally important. 

Managers and HRs should be made aware of the importance of stay interviews, and how this as an investment of time and effort, would give solid returns. Information gathered from stay interviews is always valuable to the organization. Managers don’t need to conduct stay interviews with every employee. Instead, they can focus on a selected group of employees.

For example, employees who have stayed a long time in the organization, high performers, individuals that enhance diversity, or those who are in high demand fields can be interviewed.

Also read: Stay Interviews: Best Practices to Retain the Top Employees

Known Issues

In stay interviews, managers or interviewers often digress towards issues that are already known to the organization. Managers should be coached on how to stay on track and handle the challenges while conducting a stay interview. The interviewer can follow a predetermined questionnaire with a standard set of questions. This will make stay interview discussions more productive and will avoid wasting time on the already known topics.

Also Read: Implementing Stay Interviews In Your Organization

‘What If’ Fear

Many managers and leaders suffer from ‘what if’ fears when they are conducting stay interviews. The interviewers fear what if they can’t provide employees with what they want, or what if the employees don’t trust them to provide honest answers.

This has only one solution, which is, to be frank with the employees. Managers and leaders have to be clear with what they can provide them, and what they can’t. The interviewer must hear their concerns, make them feel validated, and let them know all possible options will be explored.

Right Questions

Every organization conducting a stay interview faces a common challenge, which is framing the right questions for those who are being interviewed. Stay Interviews won’t serve their true purpose if the questions of the stay interviews are not framed correctly. HRs or managers should refrain from asking yes-or-no questions or close-ended questions to employees in their stay interviews. 

Completely avoid questions such as:

  1. Are you happy working here?
  2. Do you make enough money?

Instead include questions such as: 

  1. What do you look forward to most at work? 
  2. What are you learning here and what else would you like to be learning?

Organization Culture

Organizational culture, to a great extent, determines how honestly employees will answer the stay interview questions. If an organization does not have an open culture, then employees might be a little skeptical about answering the questions. Cultural openness in the organization can be built with time, and anonymous methods could be used for collecting feedback from the employees. 

Also Read: Creating the Right Workplace Culture

Follow Up

Most organizations fail to conduct a follow-up after the stay interview has been completed. Just like any other process in the organization, stay interviews should have an efficient follow-up process in place.  Set up a two-way follow-up process in place. Provide feedback to employees based on the information obtained in the interviews. Also, collect feedback from them regarding what they feel after the interview. Let them know that their concerns will be addressed and not ignored so that they feel important and being heard.

Also Read: Drive Employee Engagement with Engagedly

Want to know know Engagedly can help you build a high performance team? Then request for a live demo!

Request A Demo

Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

Privacy Preference Center