- A “stay” interview focuses on what motivates the employee to stick around and it is the next big trend of the great resignation.
- The stay interview is becoming a popular strategy among HR departments to retain top talent as employees quit in unprecedented numbers.
- Lily Valentin, Head of Operations for North America at Adzuna, explains what exactly a “stay” interview is and how employees can prepare as well as negotiate their salary.
Businesses are on a hiring spree during the Great Resignation, as many offer signing bonuses, require fewer qualifications, and even pay more attention to the employees that are staying.
A “stay” interview focuses on what motivates the employee to stick around, what could be better about their work experience and how they envision the next stage of their career within the organization.
As retention efforts continue to increase ahead of the new year, the “stay” interview is becoming more common.
In a Q&A with Lily Valentin, Head of Operations for North America at Adzuna, she explained what exactly a “stay” interview is and how employees can prepare as well as negotiate their salary.
Allwork.Space: What is a “stay” interview?
Lily Valentin: A “stay” interview is an informal discussion between a senior level employee/manager and an employee. The conversation focuses on what is motivating an employee to stay, what they enjoy about their current position, what would improve their work experience, and their career development goals within the organization.
These informal chats are not only extremely insightful and beneficial for the employer and boost employee retention, but they also give employees an added sense of value within an organization. At a time when employees aren’t short of choice, knowing their current employer cares about their experience, work situation, professional ambitions, and is eager to address any challenges, makes all the difference.
Allwork.Space: What are some “stay” interview tips for employers – what should they ask and what should they avoid?
Lily Valentin: Employers should make sure that these interviews are catered to the particular employee, meaning they should be finding out how an employee feels about their day-to-day work and the value of their contributions. Also, employers should keep in mind that this should not be a time when updates on tasks, to-dos, and projects are requested and shared.
Some sample questions employers should ask include:
- How are you feeling in your role?
- What motivates you to come in to work/log on every day?
- What are some of the challenges you’re facing that prevent you from delivering your best outputs, and what do you think the team and company can do to alleviate these challenges?
- Are you able to find a positive work-life balance, and if not, what can we do to help?
- Is there anything you really don’t enjoy working on, and is there anything you are looking to work on more?
- What are your longer-term career aspirations?
In the face of the Great Resignation, it’s important that employers also ask the awkward question of what would cause their employees to potentially leave the company. Having a better understanding of whether employees feel they deserve more recognition in the form of a pay raise or title change can help prevent an employee leaving without warning, to climb the career ladder.
Similarly, a stay interview can uncover if an employee is having a hard time understanding what the next step in their career looks like, allowing employers to provide additional resources and opportunities to help them develop.
Allwork.Space: What can employees do to prepare for this interview?
Lily Valentin: Despite this being an informal conversation, employees should not shy away from feeling fully briefed on the topics and coming prepared to the discussion. A great way to ensure there is no miscommunication on the objectives is to ask what questions will be asked in advance and have bullet points for each one. This is especially important if your chat is with a member of the executive team or even the CEO.
An employee should also take the time to look back and evaluate what this past year was like for them in their current position at the company. This will help them to pinpoint the pros and cons, highlighting any room for improvements – whether it’s new benefits or a flexible work schedule. Though this can seem nerve-racking at first, the “stay” interview is an opportunity for every employee to share how they have been feeling, what they are enjoying about the company and what can be done to keep them from looking elsewhere if they’re on the fence about their future.
Allwork.Space: What are some insights into wages and benefits that employees are looking for right now?
Lily Valentin: These days, employees are going after much more than financial incentives alone, showing that it’s not only about salary for the modern worker. Instead, people want jobs that fit in better with their lifestyles, offering a flexible working culture, a good work-life balance, or benefits such as childcare support or enhanced annual leave. After combatting additional stress from the pandemic and work-life boundaries blurring, many Americans have realized the importance of their mental and emotional wellbeing. In the long term, many now value this more than monetary incentives like signing and holiday bonuses.
Allwork.Space: How can current employees negotiate their salary?
Lily Valentin: It’s critical to go into a salary negotiation knowing your market rate. When an employee intricately understands their skills and the value they bring to the table, an employer will be more likely to acknowledge the same. Using a tool like Adzuna’s ValueMyResume is a great place to start, as well as researching competitors, how much they pay, and what incentives they’re offering.
Employees should emphasize the reasons they deserve to be paid a higher salary in addition to the courses of action they have taken that make them worthy of the raise. For instance, if an employee increased their value by learning new skills or by working towards a certification, it’s crucial their employer is aware of this because it shows career ambition and a desire to learn and advance.
Ultimately, the most useful conversations around raises are part of a longer-term career plan about what you want, and how you can get there. In addition, employees should highlight what their collaboration, timeliness and communication has been like with the team. Coming with examples of success and dedication will help an employee have a strong case when asking for a raise.
Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your salary with colleagues to justify a raise as this can create awkwardness and can distract from your key arguments – it’s better to focus on your own value and achievements.
Be patient. It may take a little time for any raise to be signed-off internally so don’t expect immediate action. If necessary, ask your employer for a follow-up conversation to discuss the outcome. In the meantime, remember to thank them for their time.