Dear Faculty Relations: With all the talk around the great resignation and re-evaluation, I'm worried about those around me either leaving or being disengaged in their work.
How do we keep our people? - Fearful of the Great Resignation

Dear Fearful of the Great Resignation: One tactic you can use is to ask your people how they are doing using the format of a Stay Interview. Asking seems simple, and combined with your good intent, your relationship with others might be the key to keeping your employees.  

What is a Stay Interview?  

Richard Finnegan, the author of the Power of Stay Interviews for Engagement and Retention, says, "It's a structured discussion a leader conducts with an individual employee to learn specific actions the leader can take to strengthen employee engagement and retention within the organization."    

You'll ask these five questions in 20-30 minutes:  

  1. What do you look forward to each day before you begin work?  

  1. What are you learning here, and what do you want to learn?  

  1. Why do you stay here?  

  1. When is the last time you thought about leaving us, and what prompted it?  

  1. What can I do to make your job better for you?  

Why would I conduct a Stay Interview?  

According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace: 2021 Report, about 66% of people in the U.S. and Canada are disengaged employees. It is costly to replace employees. Stay Interviews can be an informal conversation with an employee to find low-cost ways to re-affirm their commitment and engagement. 

How do I conduct a Stay Interview?  

Download the complete guide for conducting a stay interview which includes questions, holding the conversation, templates, and more.  

Three important tips for conducting a Stay Interview:  

  1. If you do not have trust with your people, Stay Interviews will not work. First, build trust.  

  1. During the interview, do 80% of the listening. Then, act on their feedback. 

  1. These are NOT performance reviews. It is your turn to listen.   

Why would you do a Stay Interview instead of an exit interview?

In exit interviews, employees are not always honest. They want to protect any promise of future recommendations, and it is too late for you to correct your behavior or the problems that caused the employee to leave. With stay interviews, you have a proactive opportunity to learn what keeps and motives an employee and gives you enough time to correct any problems.  

You might be thinking - I don't have time for these interviews! If you don't have 30 minutes to talk to your employees now, you won't have 30 minutes to hire their replacements later.  

Want more information? Here is an HR training guide and templates you can download to browse through and use as a Stay Interview guide. 

Written by Alyssa Willet, Senior Training & Development Specialist, Organization & Employee Development in the Department of Human Resources, October 2022