Main image of article Replace Exit Interviews With Stay Interviews
Why do top performers leave? Money isn’t the only reason prized employees run out the door. Inadequate career planning or a hasty and superficial performance-review process can leave valued employees feeling slighted and dispensable, but you can thwart defections by coaching managers on the benefits of conducting "stay interviews." Stay interviews are informal discussions that uncover the preferences and hot buttons of top performers. Managers query employees about the things they like and how they can help them achieve their goals and boost their job satisfaction. Then, managers use the information to cater to the needs of top performers and head off their frustrations at the pass. At the same time, the one-on-one sessions force employees to think about the reasons to stay with the company while simultaneously discussing their future career plans. Sometimes a little recognition or the chance to work on a challenging project can be enough to retain a top performer. In fact, one company claimed that instituting stay interviews reduced turnover by 20 percent. Managers should track the results of stay interviews, so HR can consider the information along with data from climate surveys to identify trends and refine the company’s employment value proposition. But you’ll know your plan is working when the number of stay interviews exceeds the number of exit interviews.