By Ishtiak Ahmed Taher, SHRM-SCP
“Exit Interview” is very widely practiced in the HR world. But, how many of us are aware of “Stay Interview”?
Read my latest article in LinkedIn to learn about Stay Interview….
Exit Interview VS Stay Interview
The relationship between “Exit Interview” and “Stay Interview” is quite similar to that between “Lag” & “Lead” indicators in the context of business performance management. While Lag Indicators (e.g. sales or profitability of last quarter) tell you about what has already happened, Lead Indicators (e.g. Customer Satisfaction Score, Number of New Products in the Pipeline, etc.) tell you about likely future outcomes that may affect your business. However, it is important to understand that, while Lag Indicators confirm a definite past performance, Lead Indicators can only tell what “might” happen rather than what “will” happen. So, Lead Indicators are not “perfect” as someone may claim.
In the context of talent management, exit interviews are like lag indicators as they may tell you why a high-performing employee has already decided to leave. However, it may still be very useful as feedback gathered from exit interviews may help you to take necessary actions to prevent future “regrettable exits”. But, I must say, the process of the exit interview is still very “reactive” in nature and this approach could be very costly for the organization.
On the other hand, like Lead Indicators, we can also use Stay Interviews to gain invaluable insight about how the high-performing employees are doing and be proactive in addressing any potential employee engagement issue. Because, in a stay interview, you ask questions like, “What is the most exciting element of your job here?” or “Tell me one thing that you would like changed about your job here?” or “What will make you leave this organization?”. Answer to these questions along with other tools like Employee Engagement Survey (EES) report will give a good idea about any potential engagement issues that need to be immediately addressed to prevent any future regrettable loss.
However, it is very important to create an environment of trust for either exit or stay interviews to work. If employees do not feel safe speaking out, they have a much bigger problem at hand. In addition, even if the trust factor is there if you do not act on the feedback from your employees, they will not be very interested in the forthcoming to speak out.
So, as team leaders or HR leaders, we must first work towards creating an environment of trust and then use tools like stay interview to make talent management more effective in our organizations. However, I do not claim that stay interview is the silver bullet to all the challenges related to talent management. But, like lead indicators, feedback from these interviews can definitely help you to manage your high-performing talents more effectively by ensuring that they remain engaged and aligned to the mission of your organization.