Companies giving ‘stay interviews’ to retain staff members

Morning In America

You’ve heard of exit interviews when someone leaves a company.

But some workplaces are now holding “stay interviews” — meant to see what employees want from their bosses, and to keep them from leaving.

Workplace and employment expert Andy Challenger, senior vice president with Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc., told Adrienne Bankert on NewsNation’s “Morning in America” that employers are doing this in response to what’s being called “The Great Resignation.”

American workers are leaving their jobs in droves, a trend that started during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last November, a record 4.5 million people voluntarily left their positions, according to figures that came out in January.

Some say this is a result of unsafe working conditions during the coronavirus crisis, low wages and widespread employee burnout. One CEO on NewsNation’s “The Donlon Report” called the resignations “a great reckoning,” where workers are asking for more than the bare minimum from their employers after years of companies relying on a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach with their workforce.

“Companies are trying to figure out new ways to convince people to stay, and part of that is asking them directly what’s going to keep them in the job,” Challenger said.

This means seeing if employees are considering changing positions or industries just because they’re getting paid more or getting better benefits, or if their impetus for leaving is more about the company’s internal corporate culture.

“Hopefully that brings some deep intelligence to the company that can help convince people to stay,” Challenger said.

Before embarking on these stay interviews, employers should know that if they’re asking these questions, they’re going to be on the hook for delivering the things their employees are asking for, Challenger said.

“That’s kind of a double-edged sword,” he said.

For employees, Challenger said, they should go into the interview knowing that this is a “job-seekers market.”

“This is a time to be truthful about what you want,” Challenger said. “Don’t hold back. If it’s about the corporate culture, if it’s about feeling like you belong in the organization, or if it’s purely about compensation, let them know truly what you want, because this is a point of maximum leverage for employees to make changes within the company.”

Smart companies are figuring how to keep their key people, Challenger said.

“They know how important those handful of stars that they’ve developed over the years are, and how quickly and easily they can leave,” he said. “It is a tough time to hang onto talent, but the companies that are being responsive to people, that are really hearing and listening to them in formats like a stay interview, they’re able to keep them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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