The Ultimate Guide to Stay Interviews for STEM Organizations
November 21, 2022
The current competitive and tight labor market is making many organizations rethink their hiring process, but many are leaving out a key aspect, employee retention.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that STEM jobs will grow 10.5% between the years 2020-2030. With large numbers of STEM jobs projected to open, this presents a great opportunity for employers to add new talent to their organization. However, with this focus on bringing in new talent, many current employees could be looking for new opportunities if their needs are not being met.
A great way to retain your employees is through conducting stay interviews. Read below to learn how stay interviews can help you retain great STEM talent.
What Exactly is a Stay Interview?
A stay interview is a conversation or meeting with successful employees to learn more about how they feel about their position and the organization as a whole. Some topics can include how they enjoy their position, what the organization can do better to support them, what changes they would like to see and other questions about their overall experience.
The Society of Human Resource Management found that it costs an employer one-third of an employee’s annual salary to replace them when they leave their role. This high cost is due to factors such as recruiting, training, loss in productivity and more. To combat these costs, employers are finding great success in having stay interviews with top performing employees.
The objective of a stay interview is to learn how the organization can change to better help employee experience, while also showing the employee that their opinions and experiences matter to management. This directly correlates to employee retention and keeping outstanding workers at your company.
Preparing For a Stay Interview
A great way to prepare for a stay interview is to take a close look at the performance of your employees and identify which individuals would be the best to conduct this type of conversation with. Consider picking employees that you want to retain at the company long-term, or those with a strong work ethic.
Once you have identified employees that you would like to conduct this conversation with, put time for the meeting on their calendar. When sending out an invitation for a stay interview, it is a great idea to explicitly inform the employee what the meeting will entail. If you are not clear about what the conversation will be, the employee could jump to conclusions like a possible lay-off or a haul of extra work which could hinder the meeting productivity and overshadow the purpose of the stay interview.
It is recommended that stay interviews last at least 30 minutes. This allows employers to ask several important questions, while also not taking away too much time from the workday for everyone involved.
Conducting a Stay Interview
Stay interviews are best conducted by a direct manager, rather than an HR professional. This is because employees will more likely have a sense that their feelings and opinions of the organization are being taken more seriously. If it is only being done by a member of HR, it could come off that the stay interview is only being done for compliance or to meet a quota. However, the results should be shared with HR following the interview.
Another factor to consider when having a stay interview is to make sure the interview is being done at a convenient time for both the manager and the employee. Considering both individuals’ time could make the employee feel more comfortable with the conversation and overall more respected by the organization.
Also, consider keeping performance reviews and stay interviews separate. While both are equally important, they have different purposes. Combining the two could cause the employee to be discouraged or stressed during the review and could make them avoid giving genuine answers to the questions that you are asking. It is best to save a performance review for another meeting.
Assembling What Questions to Ask
Just like an entrance or exit interview, preparing questions beforehand is essential when conducting a stay interview. It is best to include questions that are about the organization as a whole, as well as their specific experience working at your organization. You’ll want to ask questions about what motivates the employee to stay in addition to questions related to why they might leave. This can provide leadership with insights to help make decisions on what the organization can do to help increase and improve retention. Consider these questions below to ask in a stay interview:
- What tasks at work keep you motivated throughout the day?
- What is your favorite part about working here?
- What aspects of your job do you not enjoy?
- What skills of yours do wish were utilized more?
- Are there any barriers to your success at our organization?
Also, consider asking questions that are tailored to the employee’s specific role. By including specific questions, employees could feel that you took the time to consider their specific role within the organization.
These questions can be helpful to understand the needs of your employees and help open the door to what leadership can do to make sure that they, and others, stay at the organization for a long period of time.
Using The Information You Collected
Once you have successfully completed stay interviews, analyze what employees said and look for commonalities between responses. It is a good idea to meet with other leaders and the HR department to discuss findings and conclusions. From there, a plan or initiative should be created to improve employee retention.
Additionally, consider having an introspective look at yourself as a leader in the organization. Compare the answers from the stay interview to your leadership style and see if there is any room for improvement. Having strong leadership will go a long way with employee retention and hiring great talent.
After some time, consider having a follow-up conversation with employees to see if the changes have made a significant impact. It is a good idea to track to see if measurable change has been made overtime.
Stay interviews can be a great way to retain star employees, but can also shape an organization to be attractive to all job seekers.
Looking for great STEM talent? Check out STEMHUNTER, a job board specifically designed for STEM professionals.