Stay Interviews for Employee Retention
From “Love Em or Lose Em” by Kaye and Jordan-Evans
Brief notes from Chapter 1 of this excellent book on building a team that lasts. This book was recommended to me separately by two veteran managers in the software space, and so I am taking detailed notes to help me absorb it fully. Chapter 1 alone was worth the price of admission.
Authors met with 100k managers, and surveyed 17k people about their e-sat. This book is data-driven. Most of the knowledge here is timeless.
People are obviously critical to the success of any business. Want to minimize expensive turnover, hiring, retraining.
But learning about e-sat (employee satisfaction) from exit interviews is too late.
Solution: Use “stay interviews”
- Cover this early and often. Ask directly about e-sat, what makes them stay, what would make them leave.
- Asking in itself demonstrates respect
- Authors say this may be the single most important strategy in the book
Top factors for e-sat (“why do you stay?”) from 17k surveys, (this is the full list of top 20 factors in order of importance):
- Exciting/challenging work
- Career growth, learning, development
- Working with great people
- Fair pay
- Good/supportive management
- Being recognized, valued, respected
- Meaningful work/making a difference
- Pride in the org, its mission and product
- Create work environment and culture
- Autonomy, creativity, sense of control
- Flexibility: hours, dress, etc
- Job security and stability
- Diverse, changing assignments
- Fun on the job
- Being part of a team
- Loyalty, commitment to the org or coworkers
- Inspiring leadership
Pay often does not dominate. Insufficient pay is a risk (“hygiene factor”), but more pay does not compensate for lack in other areas.
Stay interview questions (paraphrased/compressed, Full list pp15):
1. What excites you/bores you about this job?
2. What would you miss most, what would you change?
3. What one change could make you want to move on?
4. What could I as manager do more or less of?
5. What makes for a great day?
6. How can we make your job more satisfying, support your career goals, recognize you (do you get enough recognition?)
7. What do you want to learn this year
When to do stay interviews?
- Performance reviews
- Every quarter
- Monthly 1:1s
- Development discussions
Often managers assume people want more pay and promotions. Authors found often other things are needed.
So: Ask soon, ask often, and find out.