Welcome to the July edition of HR hot topics!
I just recently got back from a vacation – my family and I took a long road trip out west for a few weeks. We saw five national parks, and it was amazing! I know it rained buckets here in Michigan, but out west, it was pretty glorious. When we got home, I looked at my husband and said, “That’s it, I’m selling the business. I’m retiring.” Of course I was joking, but in all seriousness, it has been really hard transitioning back into work. And that little time away got me thinking about what I want to do next, and where I want to take this company.
Employees all over the place are having similar conversations in their households. And right now, recruiting is a struggle – it’s really challenging to find qualified help. There are several factors contributing to this. For example, the federal unemployment subsidy certainly isn’t helping things and that’s not set to expire until September 4th. We also have a supply and demand problem in certain industries. The reality is, even with lifted restrictions, Covid is still very real. You’ve got individuals who are scared to be in the workplace, or may have family obligations, so they can’t be as available for work as they were pre-Covid. All of this is to say that it’s hard to hire, but as I said in the beginning, you also have your staff that are already on payroll that are not a stone-cold lock.
The last thing you need is your existing staff thinking that there’s a greener pasture and looking for another opportunity, right? So now you’re kind of getting squeezed on both ends. This brings me to the topic of today’s post – the importance of something called a stay interview. Now, I know you’ve probably heard of exit interviews – exit interviews are held when a person has already decided to leave and it’s generally too late to convince them to stay. A stay interview is a one-on-one conversation with your team members before anyone has notified you that they’re looking to go elsewhere. The purpose is to ask questions and figure out what your employees like about working at your organization. Questions might include:
- What gets you excited to come into work every day?
- What do you look forward to?
- What do you want to learn here?
- What would make you leave this job?
- When’s the last time you thought about leaving and why?
- What can we do to make this job better?
In a way, this interview is like re-recruiting your current staff. Now’s the time to do this, folks!
I think now is a perfect opportunity as people are taking vacations and maybe the workload has slowed a bit. Depending on your industry, I would set the stage with your staff and recognize that it’s been very stressful the last year and a half for all of you.
Find an opportunity to touch base with them about how they’re doing and what they’re seeing in the workplace, and most importantly, how you can make things better. The last thing you need is your current staff leaving when it’s so hard to find new staff on the front end.
When doing a stay interview, I recommend using the 80/20 rule – spend 80% of your time listening and 20% asking questions and probing further. The goal is to create a very comfortable environment where your employees will tell you the truth.
This is the first time you’ve done anything like this, which might make both you and your employees a little nervous. After all, you have no idea what could come out of this conversation. But it’s an excellent exercise and something I recommend employing on a regular basis – not just when recruiting is tough. You want to keep the folks you have as well as keep them happy.
Stay interviews are not a new idea, but one that doesn’t get implemented often enough. Be sure to reach out for resources that can help set you up for success when implementing stay interviews in your organization.
Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll catch up with you next month!