Home > Why Stay Interviews are Better than Exit Interviews

Why Stay Interviews are Better than Exit Interviews

In CareerGuest BloggerInterviewJob SearchUncategorizedWork |

By |

On August 22, 2018

Want to keep your top-tier talent in the life sciences or healthcare sector around for longer? You’re not alone.

As job hopping becomes a more popular trend, even in sectors like health and life sciences, younger generations have very few qualms about leaving their old employers behind in search of better opportunities. This means that a lot of companies find themselves dealing with gaps in their team that lead to lost productivity, and lost profits.

The good news is that there could be a way to figure out what’s bothering your employees before they head for the door. With stay interviews, businesses can figure out what the ambitions, preferences, and needs of their top employees are so that they can build an environment that they’ll want to stay in.

The question is, what makes stay interviews so compelling, and how do you create an interview strategy that works for your organization?


What is a Stay Interview?

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of an exit interview. Exit interviews are merely the conversations that you have with your staff members after they’ve handed in their notice and told you that they’re going elsewhere. An exit interview gives you a chance to find out why your employee chose to leave, and how you could have done things differently to keep them around for longer.

A stay interview is similar in nature to an exit interview. The major difference is that you find out what’s bothering your employee before they make the decision to leave. Because stay interviews happen when your employees are still with your business, they give you a chance to make positive changes before you lose your hires. Essentially, stay interviews ask the question of “why wait for an employee to resign before you fix your workforce problems?”


Why Are Stay Interviews So Beneficial?

Stay interviews give you a chance to get to know your staff members better and learn about the things that motivate them to stay with your company or encourage them to leave. When used at the right time, with the correct questions, stay interviews:

  • Let your staff members know that you value them: Today’s employees want to see that they’re respected by their employers. Showing them that you care enough to ask about their needs and make changes according to their wishes is a great way to strengthen the relationships you have with your staff.
  • Remind them of the benefits of working with you: You can take time in your stay interview to highlight the benefits that you offer your employees. If you work with an external PEO service it’s also possible your employees are eligible for staff discounts or extra support services that they may not know about. Tell them about them or show them where they can find out more.
  • Drive action: Stay interviews push you to make positive changes to your company culture and work environment. This not only improves your chances of retaining your existing employees, but it can also help you to attract new talent to your team as well. This can be particularly important in a competitive space like life sciences.
  • Stimulate employees: Stay interviews remind your staff of the positive experiences that they’ve had with your company so that they’re less likely to leave straight away. This gives you time to make the necessary changes that will reduce turnover.

Stay interviews can also save you a lot of money on recruitment. The average cost of replacing a lost employee can range into the tens of thousands, and that doesn’t even account for the productivity losses that you may encounter when a member of your team is missing.

So, how do you perform a useful stay interview?


1.   Know When to Interview your Employees

Ideally, the best time to conduct a stay interview is before your staff members experience the burnout, overwhelm or frustration that causes them to leave your company. Unfortunately, it can be quite a challenge going through all your health center employees on the search for an unhappy staff member. Sometimes, it’s obvious who you need to focus your attention on – the person making the most complaints or losing their productivity.

On other occasions, you may just need to set schedules in place that remind you to conduct stay interviews on a regular basis. For instance, most companies will hold a stay interview with each team member at least once a year – about the same time as they would perform an employee review. However, some employers might prefer to reduce that period to every six months to keep their finger on the pulse of employee attitude.

For new hires, it’s worth giving stay interviews earlier, as recent employees are more likely to leave a job than people who have been with your company for a while.


2.   Make Sure You’re Asking the Right Questions

While employee performance reviews are generally performed by managers and supervisors, stay interviews are more likely to be a conversation between your HR team and your employee. It’s supposed to be a light and honest discussion where your employee feels comfortable authentically talking about the problems they have with your workforce. It’s important to make sure that your staff members feel comfortable being transparent about their feelings in a stay interview.

To make your interviews as successful as possible, ask a broad selection of questions, such as:

  • What motivates you: Ask your employee what keeps them happy in their jobs and why they like working with you.
  • What de-motivates you: Figure out what’s stopping your staff members from performing at their best, and what you might be able to do to help.
  • What’s your dream job? Find out what a perfect role looks like to your employee and see if there are any ways that you can improve their current position.
  • Do you think we could do something better to make you feel happier at work?

3.   Act on the Responses You Get

Finally, a stay interview is a great way to find out what motivates your employees to stay with your company, and what might convince them to leave. However, it’s important to make sure that you use this valuable information correctly. Opening up a dialogue with your staff is one thing, but you also need to be willing to act on what you find out.

Make notes of what your employees say during their stay interviews and take action to put new strategies for success into place. For instance, if your employee feels like they don’t get enough feedback on their work, make sure that their manager continually checks up on them and provides them with information about how they’ve performed in their latest projects.

The more you act on the things you find out in a stay interview, the happier your employees will become, and the easier it will be to build a culture of trust.


Connect with Jock on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Last modified: August 22, 2018

Leave a Reply