With the tightening labour market and increasing pressure on businesses to retain staff, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on developing effective staff retention practices. This includes developing strategies to minimise staff turnover, succession planning for key staff and ensuring staff are provided development opportunities in accordance with their interests and ambitions.
The pressure on the labour market is compounded by low immigration numbers, a lack of international visitors on working visas and ‘the great resignation’, often referred to as the ‘big quit,’ an international trend where significant number of workers have left their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Poor treatment at work is a key contributor to the great resignation, with the pandemic exacerbating already-toxic workplace cultures in a range of businesses.
Another factor is the changing behaviours of each generation. Think back to our fathers where it would not be uncommon for them to stay in one career for their entire working life. Compare them to the current generation who are more likely to seek change so may experience a number of career changes over their working life.
In order to mitigate the impacts of a more ‘transient’ work force a number of businesses are now adopting a new employee engagement strategy referred to as ‘stay interviews.’ It is a standard process in many businesses to conduct exit interviews for staff that have resigned and while these can be effective in providing information relating to the reason why an employee is leaving, it is a reactive approach and in the majority of cases ‘the horse has already bolted’.
It makes better sense therefore to adopt a proactive approach and interview staff while they are still employed. A ‘stay interview’ will help managers to understand why employees stay but also what may cause them to leave. They will get a better understanding of what motivates the employee as well as where their interests and aspirations in the business lie.
‘Stay interviews’ are best conducted in a casual and conversational manner by a third party to ensure the employee feels comfortable to talk about things that they may not feel comfortable discussing with their Supervisor, Manager or another member of the organisation.
There are several benefits to developing and maintaining a ‘stay interview’ program:
- They provide an opportunity for an employee to be heard, which is a great engagement strategy in itself.
- They demonstrate that the business values their opinion, which promotes trust and loyalty.
- They demonstrate that the business is serious about improving, which is motivational to employees.
- They provide valuable insights for the Business Owner that might otherwise be missed.
- They reduce the risk of valuable staff leaving.
- They identify areas of interest and development for employees.
- They provide valuable information for the business to incorporate into their business strategy.
Employees rarely leave employers that they like and respect.