Why do managers wait for a resignation to sit own with a valued employee and understand what it would take to keep them? Frankly, it doesn’t make sense. A better approach is to institute regular stay interviews with at least your key players. Of course, in most small and midsize businesses, most employees ARE key players.

Depending on the seniority of each employee, the objective of the stay interview will vary. If you don’t know how to get started, I have created an easy-to-follow Stay Interview Guide with specific questions to guide your conversation.

New hires

When I was the HR Manager at the Procter & Gamble R&D center in England, I instituted stay interviews for all of our new hires. This was an informal conversation, usually around breakfast in the cafeteria, where I would take the pulse of each new employee within their first 3 months of employment.

The first 3 months in a new position are critical. To avoid early turnover, it’s important to stay close to new hires to address their concerns. It’s also a great way to assess how engaged they are and whether they are connecting with their supervisor and co-workers. 

Established employees

With established employees, the stay interview helps managers understand why established employees stay and what might cause them to leave. In an effective stay interview, managers ask standard, structured questions in a casual and conversational manner. Most stay interviews take about half an hour.

The stay interview is a way to take the pulse of employees who are the backbone of your organization. Make sure you understand what makes them tick and what could tempt them to look for another job. In some cases, the stay interview will allow you to “rescue” an employee who is convinced their needs cannot be met by your organization.

Check out my Stay Interview Guide. I have created an easy-to-follow interview template with specific questions to guide your conversation. It couldn’t be any easier!

It’s amazing the power of simple, yet purposeful conversations can have on your workforce. Try it and see the difference it makes!

Tip: Great ideas only make a difference when they are implemented! Schedule your stay interviews so that all new hires get one within the first 3 months while scheduling those for established employees throughout the year.