The content of the stay interview, however, is only half the battle. How questions are posed and the way in which managers listen is just as imperative as what questions are asked.
Managers might start by saying, “You are so critical to me and to this team. I can’t imagine losing you. I might not tell you that enough. But I’d like to know what will keep you here and what might entice you away now or in the future. What kind of things are you looking for from the job or from me as a manager?”
Then they need to listen actively to the responses. “Does he want a chance to learn something new? Does she want exposure to the senior team?”
Beyond simply listening, how managers respond — verbally and nonverbally — and what they say or don’t say is also critical. Responses like “that’s unrealistic” or “tell me why you are worth that” or “you’ve kind of peaked out” will halt the dialogue and cause employees to clam up.
Instead, managers should aim to tell the truth about the barriers to saying “yes” while demonstrating that they care enough to get creative and make an effort to help employees get what they really want.
What managers ask and how they respond during a stay interview will determine the outcome of this important interaction.
Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, “More Stay Interviews, Fewer Exit Interviews”, talent management (23 September 2014) [http://www.talentmgt.com/articles/6828-more-stay-interviews-fewer-exit-interviews]