The Power of Stay Interviews: We Wrote the Book
What is a Stay Interview?
Here’s the definition from Dick Finnegan, our CEO and the author of The Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention which is the top-selling SHRM-published book in history:
A Stay Interview is a structured discussion a leader conducts with each individual employee to learn the specific actions she must take to strengthen that employee’s engagement and retention with the organization.
“I had an epiphany during the Stay Interview Manager program that I should be asking the Stay Interview questions, but that I just haven’t. That I should and could be doing a better job engaging with my team, but that I have not asked the right questions to get the right information. This gave me the tools to do it the right way.”
– RYAN COWLES, TEAM LEAD, AUTOMATIC
Here is a top-10 list of things we’ve learned about the best ways to implement Stay Interviews in your organization to improve employee retention and engagement:
1.) Executives must champion the people strategy so they must conduct Stay Interviews first to begin a cascaded a process of implementation, because if their leaders are not engaged then neither are their employees.
2.) Managers must build trust to retain and engage their teams, and Stay Interviews will enable them to do so; research indicates that the most important competency for retention and engagement is the ability to build trust with your employees.
3.) Converting turnover and engagement to dollars galvanizes your company’s approach, otherwise Stay Interviews become just another to-do; so your turnover reports must include the cost of turnover incurred by each leader for the period rather than just report turnover percentages.
4.) Leaders must be held accountable to goals so every supervisor and above should have a specific personal retention or engagement goal, meaning any company-wide retention or engagement goal is worthless unless supervisors have their goals, too.
5.) Human Resources can recommend and monitor Stay Interview progress, but cannot be accountable for retention or engagement except for the Human Resource team; Stay Interviews must be conducted by each employee’s leader in order to build a trusting relationship resulting in reduced turnover.
“The Stay Interview Certification is a full solution for HR and Managers to change culture and training.”
– BRENDA GARRETT, MS, SPHR, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES, VISITING NURSES ASSOCIATION OF COLORADO
6.) Our five researched, proven Stay Interview questions should be asked every time, along with additional probing questions to learn how best to retain and engage each employee; leaders then also learn what they must start, stop, and continue to be a more effective leader so employees want to stay and contribute more.
7.) Leaders must learn 4 skills to effectively conduct Stay Interviews…and the most important skill is probing.
8.) For leaders with wide spans of control, conduct Stay Interviews first with (1) new hires as they likely have the highest turnover and (2) high-performing employees since they do four times the work of others.
9.) Ask leaders to forecast how long each employee will stay…and perform on the next engagement survey…and then use that forecast to hold leaders accountable; for example, a leader who forecasts continues with high turnover but forecasts all employees will stay might be indicating she has trouble building enough trust for employees to tell her the truth.
10.) Leaders must be given specific proven Stay Interview tools so they can do Stay Interviews effectively.
"As the material stresses, trust is the key and I trust that the Stay Interview Manager program will provide our managers with the tools to implement Stay Interviews."
– LINDA A. GUEST, SENIOR HR MANAGER, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
Still, some executives might say, “We do employee surveys and exit surveys. Don’t we have enough data?” And the answer is you do have data…but not solutions. During his Stay Interview, one client employee gave his manager the direct path to staying longer with these words:
“I have 3 kids under 7. If I can come in a few minutes early on days when one of my kids has soccer or a little league game and then leave a few minutes early to watch them play, I’ll never leave”.
No survey of any kind would tell the manager that need…or that solution.
All the best practices described here and more are included in our online Stay Interview courses, the Stay Interview Expert Certification for Human Resources and Stay Interview Manager Training. Our Stay Interview Toolkit includes the Stay Interview Guide, with opening and closing scripts for each Stay Interview along with the 5 key Stay Interview questions, helpful probes, and the Stay Action Plan. The Key Forms provided include the Summary Report Tool for each manager to summarize each employee’s retention forecast and the top three reasons each employee stays and could leave.
This quote describes what separates the Finnegan Institute’s courses from other leadership training:
“The Stay Interview Manager Program and Finnegan’s Arrow drive home retention accountability. That makes a huge difference.”
– MARIAN MORLOCK, TALENT ACQUISITION & DEVELOPMENT, TECH DATA