Using Stay Interviews

Everyone understands that an “exit interview” is a standard process taking place when an employee departs from his or her organization.

As we talk to those in the hardwood lumber industry, we still find that one of the most significant issues we are all facing is employee recruitment and retention. So by contrast, the idea of using “stay interviews” with your exiting employees to determine just how they are faring within the company, and uncovering any potential issues that could cause them to leave might be a good idea.

For those of us that are part of the Baillie Group, we find “stay interviews” very helpful. Whether that be with our certified forester team, hardwood lumber handlers, of ever those who are part of our hardwood lumber sales team, proactively sitting down with employees and having  a proactive, candid conversation is always helpful!

Stay interviews “are a chance to gauge your company culture as employees experience it,” notes “Cultivating an engaging, inclusive, dynamic and strong culture is an ongoing act, not a singular destination,” and stay interviews are a key resource for keeping that culture strong.

Stay interviews offer several benefits, including:

  • Building trust. Employers who regularly “check in” with team members help solidify an atmosphere of trust within the organization.
  • Assessing employee well-being. This is a good tool for evaluating the quality of an employee’s work-life balance—from the employee’s point of view.
  • Uncovering employee issues. A stay interview can reveal challenges an employee is grappling with at an early stage, and thus lend themselves to a more rapid solution.

Experts recommend that these interviews be conducted by an employee’s manager, not by the HR team. This presumes that a supervisor and employee have a good working relationship in place.

According to HR Morning, successful stay interview includes questions like these:

  • What do you look forward to when coming to work every day?
  • What knowledge are you gaining as part of your job responsibilities?
  • What keeps you here as part of our team?
  • Have you considered leaving your job and what may have provoked this idea?
  • How can we, as your employer, improve your job experience?

Asking these questions “forces [employees] to shift their mindset from negative to positive and can help bring their thinking into the here-and-now.”

In these interviews, do all you can to listen, rather than do much of the talking. You’ll learn a lot more just by allowing employees to speak freely.

We find it is especially helpful with new hires to consider doing some form of a stay interview at 30-, 60-, and 90-day milestones. This can help employees not only get acclimated to the norms of the company but also the nuances of the hardwood lumber industry.

So, schedule a stay interview with one of your employees and let us know how it goes. We would love to hear about your experience!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber
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