kansas city employee exit interviews

Employee Retention/Stay Interviews

Retaining good talent is nearly as difficult as finding the good talent to begin with.

Unemployment rates are at an all-time low, resulting in 74 percent of employers struggling to fill open positions while many applicants are receiving multiple job offers in demanding fields.

Even if you are lucky enough to find your next hire, how can you keep them onboarded once they are trained and fully developed? Many employers feel blindsided when an employee turns in their resignation and admit they didn’t see it coming.

The exit interview

Completing an exit interview is one tactic to assist a business owner in understanding what their exiting employee liked and disliked about the workplace. Datapoints that can be collected and analyzed may be job satisfaction, culture fit, ability to advance within their career, utilization of benefits and working conditions.

Exit interviews can be somewhat challenging for a variety of reasons. Many unhappy employees feel uncomfortable sharing their feelings openly and honestly. Some exiting employees simply don’t take the time to complete a survey thoroughly at all.

In addition to not understanding why staff may be leaving, determining the actual cost of employee turnover is hard to quantify. The average cost for each bad hire equals 30 percent of the individual’s annual earnings, according to the Department of Labor.

The impact of employee turnover goes beyond the cost of losing an employee. Turnover impacts productivity, workload, training costs, interviewing costs and the knowledge lost when that employee left.

The “stay” interview

A proactive approach to understanding employee satisfaction is to focus on what your current active workforce values at the company and what they do not. A “stay interview” can be administered to your current workforce to solicit information that can help engage and retain the staff that is still committed to the business. These questions can include:

  1. Do you utilize employee benefits and if not, why?
  2. Do you crave more recognition from your manager?
  3. Do you feel secure in your position?
  4. Do you have a clear understanding of what is expected of you?
  5. Do you have a good circle of trusted peers in the company?
  6. Do you understand your opportunities for advancement within the organization?

How to conduct a stay interview

Stay interviews can be administered in a variety of ways. Paper forms, one-on-one meetings, anonymous surveys or third-party services are all reasonable options to collect this information. If the face-to-face option is selected, an additional “suggestion box” is recommended to ensure all opinions may be shared in an unbiased manner.

Many business owners are pleasantly surprised with the results and can make adjustments to ensure employee feedback is received and taken into consideration. If some ideas can’t be implemented, explain the “why” to the employees.

Even if you can only meet halfway or offer other alternatives, employees will see this as a step forward and be more likely to stay with your company because they feel their opinions are considered and validated.

As unemployment continues to be at an all-time low, it’s vital that companies find ways to keep their current employees satisfied and motivated. Administering stay interviews shows initiative on behalf of the employer, and that they are willing to listen and try to make a change in the workplace.

About the Author

Erica Brune is a Thinking Bigger Foundational Partner

erica bruneErica is President of Lever1, a Kansas City-based professional employer organization (PEO) providing human resources, payroll and employee benefit solutions. Within five years of launching Lever1, Erica helped drive the company to become Missouri’s Fastest Growing Company of 2017—ranked No. 44 in the nation by Inc. Magazine.

You can reach Erica at:

Phone: (816) 994-1300