Want to Reduce Turnover? Conduct "Stay" Interviews
Most people are familiar with “exit interviews.” The purpose is to find out why people have decided to leave. Makes sense in theory. Find out the cause(s) for employee dissatisfaction and fix it. But the traditional approach to understanding turnover is limited because the number of workers who leave represents a small percentage of the total employee population. In the long run, your practice will be more productive and profitable if you improve employee retentionrather than reducing turnover.
The logical problem involved with exit interviews is that they give little information about why some people stay. Even in a weak economy, good workers are in demand and can find employment opportunities elsewhere. In fact workforce surveys indicate that 38 percent of employees are actively seeking a new job.
Stay-interviews are a preventive tool in employee retention. By conducting stay-interviews you can proactively address potential issues that impact morale and job satisfaction. In essence you have an opportunity to find out how to retain and engage your best workers. Additionally, stay-interviews enable you to develop stronger relationships with your team…and we all know what that does for engagement and productivity.
There is no secret formula for why people stay. It's just not that easy or exact. In general, the most common reasons are pride in the organization, a compatible and supportive boss, compensation and benefits, meaningful work and opportunities to learn, and affiliation with co-workers.
Still others stay just because they can't leave. Their spouse has a job is in the community. They have family obligations. Worse, they have inertia. By conducting stay-interviews you can reinforce positive reasons for staying, and at the same time, make it easier for those who are staying for negative reasons to quit. In the latter case, turnover quality might really improve the things in your office. The point is that all people are different and your leadership goal should be to help each individual to meet their own needs as well as the needs of your practice.
Here is a list of possible questions to incorporate into your stay-interview. The interviews should be conducted with each employee individually over a one to two week period. Choose four or five of the following:
As you solicit ideas from your employees about how to retain them, just listen. No matter what they say, do not evaluate their responses even if you cannot fulfill their wishes. Simply take notes and gather the information. To close the stay-interviews, promise that you will review the feedback and give them a timeline for further discussion. And follow-up no matter what!
There is an old adage that employees don't leave jobs, they leave bosses.Research findings are consistent with this. By conducting stay-interviews you will show each employee that you care about them…and you increase the probability that they will return the kindness. Even if some employees ultimately leave your practice, it won't be because you failed to do what you could.
Find out who wants to stay and figure out what to do with those who have to stay. This kind of information can’t be found in exit interviews. In fact, you may have” lost” many people who are still working in your practice.
Exit interviews tell you why good people are leaving, but rarely in time to prevent their departure. However, a stay-interview is an early warning system that shows your appreciation, identifies ways to reinforce employees' good will, and helps you keep star performers on your payroll vs. on someone else's.
Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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