Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The second book I wrote (“Staying Power,” Abingdon Press 2002) follows 12 research-based case studies on how people leave the church and what you can do to reach out to them. Sometimes these people should stay, but we often reach out to them after it is too late. When should we reach out to them? Research indicates while they are preparing to leave is a more successful tactic, because a lack of communication speeds up the distancing process. Research also suggests “stay interviews,” instead of “exit interviews,” are a better tact for retaining the people that shouldn’t be leaving a ministry. Read this article for more insights.
It behooves all managers to start practicing this technique for gauging employee happiness.
by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 11/17/16.
“Stay Interviews” Are Totally Happening Now
If you’re a manager and new to this idea, get on your horse and start conducting them pronto — especially with those “at risk to leave” employees who may be updating their resumes.
Like the exit interview, you’re getting fresh knowledge and insight about what you can do to improve and retain those valued employees–today–not after they have emotionally disconnected and stopped caring.
Stay interviews also have the edge over the traditional, annual employee satisfaction surveys (a dreaded and totally obsolete HR practice that I’ve written about) because it’s based on honest two-way conversations where each side gets to listen, ask questions, and agree to follow-up on ideas and action plans.
Dick Finnegan, author of The Power of Stay Interview for Engagement & Retention, says stay interviews produce data so effective at predicting and reducing employee turnover rates that scores of his clients have abandoned their engagement surveys.
The Process of Stay Interviews
If one of your employees is likely to quit, you need to do something about it right away. Andy Grove, author of High Output Management, outlines five steps to saving a valued unhappy employee. Most of these can come out of your stay interview:
1. Meet with them ASAP and ask why they’re quitting.
2. Listen to what they have to say, and ask follow up questions
3. Find clear ways to help change things for them to make things better.
4. Follow up and implement the changes you said you would do quickly.
5. Even if you will lose them to another department, you should be trying to keep them in the company…
These are five “must asks.”
1. “What do you like about your job?”…
2. “Tell me about a good day of work you had recently. What does that look like?”…
3. “Do you feel your skills and strengths are being used to its full potential at work?”…
4. “Do you feel you get properly recognized for your work, contributions, or achievements?”…
5. “Do you feel like you are treated with trust and respect in your role?”