Is It Too Late To Save An Employee At The Point of Resignation?

A Man and a Woman in Suits Discussing Over a Paper

All too often when a valued employee resigns unexpectedly, the company scrambles to try to “save” the employee from leaving. At that point, is it too little too late? Many would argue that you should do everything you can to keep a valued employee. But what about the effort to keep connected with employees on an ongoing basis to ensure that they have everything they need to be engaged, challenged, satisfied, and happy at work.

One approach is the stay interview instead of the exit interview. In the book Love’Em or Lose’Em: Getting Good People to Stay by Beverly Kaye & Sharon Jordan-Evans, the authors explore why managers should seek to understand what motivates their employees to stay with their company and what might cause them to leave. This technique is great for helping valuable employees feel appreciated which in turn may promote career success and happiness at your company. And, when they are happy in their job, they are more likely to perform better.

Before The Stay Interview

How you start the interview is up to you. But one important thing to keep in mind is setting the tone of the conversation by letting your employee know their value at the company. Give them positive feedback about their work, compliment them on their skills, and tell them how important it is to you and your company that they stay for the long haul. Then you’re ready to begin the actual interview. The main goal of this meeting is to find out as much as you can about what they like and dislike about their workplace and how you can best keep them around. Here are some great starter questions you might include during the interview:

● What excites you about your job?

● What do you dread when you think of work?

● If you were to resign tomorrow, what would you miss?

● What is one thing you would change about your work environment?

● How can we better support you?

● Are your talents being used in your current role?

● Do you think you’re recognized and appreciated enough here?

● Overall, are you satisfied with your current job here?

These are just starter questions, so be creative! Personalize your questions based on your leadership style.

Incorporating It Into Other Processes

Instead of conducting a stay interview, you can weave similar questions in other ways, like during orientation or performance appraisals. Here are some things you might keep in mind during an employee’s first few days of work:

● Connect with your new hire and get to know them as a person, instead of just an employee,

● Include them in workplace activities and events to help them feel welcome,

● Find out why they accepted this job and why it’s important to them,

● Ask them about what motivates them at work, what they like and dislike.

Listen carefully to their answers, take notes, and create a list of ways you’re succeeding in helping valuable employees stay, as well as how you can improve. Let your employers know you’re paying attention and that you care during your stay interview by maintaining positive body language and eye contact. Thank them and tell them that you appreciate their honesty and time spent during the interview. Don’t be afraid to ask more questions or confirm if you’ve heard them correctly. Keep an open mind. And most of all remember, good talent is too valuable to lose!