According to Mandy Gilbert, "(Stay-interviews) provide an inside look at your employee's day to day challenges and goals, drive retention within your workforce and help build genuine trusting relationships. Giving employees a platform to not only have their concerns heard, but also to discuss personal career goals will keep your team engaged and loyal."
Needless to say, the importance and meaning of stay interviews has been summed up in the above definition for anyone who has had to deal with the receipt of a resignation letter. Other than that, here are a few fundamental steps you must take in order to ensure the smooth working of a stay interview. These are important to bear in mind because even though after a certain length of time they might become smug and routine for you, the employee in question could be facing their first ever. So stay grounded and don't lose track of the goal.
Stay interviews are yet to become common practice and it can become an essential policy if done in the right spirit. So, a sense of formality along with some professional conduct can ensure it is taken seriously. In this case, it will require you to send a well-written email to the concerned employee stating the intention. A formal medium of communication will get it the much-desired effect and keep the immediacy of the interview intact.
Many-an-employer might just employ stay interviews as it is part of the new HR trend, hence making it an act of novelty or doing something different to keep their ship afloat and its sailors in place. So take in the same stride as you expect your employee to bring to the table. Rather than doling out thoughtless emails that can make the process seem unnecessary, ensure there is a participatory vibe within the office.
While the purpose of all interviews is the same, their conduct need not be homogenized. Every employee is different, even the ones doing the same kind of job. Say, if your team has ten graphic designers all working with the same tools and coming from a similar background, their reasons for quitting might still differ. Needless to say, your interview needs to be of a specific nature than being generalised.
You can set the process into motion by looking into the past history of the employee, their list of previous complaints if any or their request for a raise and the grounds on which it was denied or accepted. This research will put you in good stead and make your employee feel recognised. Be honest in your attempt, an unhappy employee will be able to see through your flaccid attempt to appear humane.
On both sides of the desk are people. You are playing your chosen part and the other is playing his or hers. The attempt of the stay interview is to break through the hierarchical barriers and talk freely. Keep the interview tone between casual and professional, as you need to come off as being genuinely concerned and ready to work towards the root cause of your employee's unhappiness or discontentment.
It's important to follow up with the employee after the interview - not in a make-up-your-mind-quick kind of a way but to let them know that the interview was not a farce and that you would like to hear what the employee has in mind after the interview.
Read Also: 5 questions to ask at a stay interview