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Employee engagement

“Stay” interviews often more insightful than “exit” interviews

By Roz
Published on July 5, 2016

Despite a full focused campaign to hike employee engagement in recent years, the final figures still show just over one third of American workers describe themselves as actively engaged in their world.


Human resources departments, who are largely charged with the elusive quest of improving engagement, have long realized that the occasional token staff barbecue or anonymous survey box just aren’t effective.


One of the issues is that most of the effort in solving the engagement problem to date has focused on a quest to find out what is wrong with the company. What is it not doing that it should be doing? What is it not offering that it should be offering?


The problem is often placed firmly on the desk of the company’s human resources department with directives to “fix it” without even anyone in the organization knowing exactly what is broken.


That challenge is promoting some HR professionals to tackle the issue from a different perspective. It’s not what the company is doing wrong; but what it is doing right.


Hence the growing popularity of the “stay” interview as opposed to the exit interview.


A stay interview is when engaged and productive employees who have stayed with the company for several years are asked if they would provide on what it is that keeps them engaged and passionate about their work even as the days, months and years pass.


The bottom line question is simply: Why do they stay?


The secrets long-time employees hold on motivation and gratification and passion for their work offer more valuable insight about what a company is doing right. And often that is even more important when it comes to looking after employee engagement than what they are doing wrong.


The information is more valuable as well because if a veteran employee in the course of the interview raises an issue that they believe needs attention, it can be looked into immediately and perhaps solve a problem from getting bigger.


In an exit interview, however, by the time the company learns what is wrong, it is far too late to fix it for the person packing their briefcase and heading out the door.


Consulting veteran employees also builds trust and respect and heightens their level of engagement.


The stay interviews should be conducted by the person’s manager, but human resources representatives may be asked to sit in on it.


Here are five good questions to ask to get the conversation going:

  1. What do you like most about the work you are doing?
  2. When you think about the company, what are some of the good things you would say about it?
  3. What project that you were involved in the last year was most invigorating for you?
  4. How well do you think the company puts into practice their claim that people are their best asset? 
  5. Were there points in your life that you considered leaving, and if so, what made you stay? 


Focusing on the employees that make conscious decisions to stay at your company can provide great insight into what your company is doing right, and what it should continue doing.


For more information on employee engagement, contact Skyprep today!

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