Stop Reacting and Start Listening – Try Using Stay Interviews!

Stop Reacting and Start Listening – Try Using Stay Interviews!

One of the biggest challenges for companies today, regardless of the industry, is overcoming the talent shortage and managing the cycle of turnover, recruitment and hiring.

Unfortunately, the response that many employers have taken to this challenge is reactive in nature.   They are responding at the time the employee announces they are leaving.

This reaction is dealing with the direct loss, but it’s not doing anything preventative to potentially mitigate further turnover of the existing team.

Cost of doing what you’ve always done

Continuing this reactive cycle is resulting in a heavy resource strain and operational impact on the organization due to the following factors.

  • The cost to replace an employee is estimated to be somewhere between 6-9 months of salary
  • There is a limited pool of experienced candidates available to hire today so finding replacements is not easy, taking longer, and sometimes not possible
  • The workload to redistribute from people leaving is affecting the wellbeing and engagement of the current workforce

The old ways of managing employee retention, recruitment and hiring are no longer working.  “Just in time” employee replacement is no longer an option.

A proactive approach

We can’t control whether employees leave, but we do have the option of attempting to influence their decision to stay!

The value of putting effort into retaining skilled talent is high, and your business success depends on it.

Making the effort to discover the reasons why employees want to stay with your organization, and what might entice them to leave, doesn’t cost much but can lead to huge payoffs in retaining your current staff and re-engaging them.

Asking employees targeted questions and listening to their answers, can give your company the insights needed to change the trajectory for retaining your employees and attracting new hires into the future.

Conduct “Stay interviews” to understand employee motivations and engagement

The stay interview is an informal 1:1 discussion between a manager and direct report about what motivates them and demotivates them in the workplace, and includes topics such as learning and development, recognition and rewards, work-life balance, and conflict.

If you’re not yet holding these, you are taking on the risk of assuming that you understand why each employee stays working with the organization.

Stay interviews are all about leaders asking their direct reports open-ended questions that prompt conversation.   Stay interviews are not about challenging or disputing the answers – they are about the leader asking questions, listening to the answers, and learning from what they hear, so they can take actions to make things better.   The objective is to get to know your people better to understand what’s most important to them.

Stay interviews are not difficult to conduct, but they do require an investment of time, genuine curiosity, and active listening to be most effective.

Stay interviews are not the only way to engage and retain talent, but they are a good option that you can control.  Not doing them keeps you guessing at what your people really want.

If you want more explanation on Stay Interviews or how to conduct one, please ask!  I can be reached at

Download The iC3 Stay Interview Template here

The Stay Interview Template is just one in a suite of tools designed to help leaders attract and retain high-performing staff.

Learn more about ic3 here