Company's latest retention tool: Stay interviews
August 29, 2022
Stay interviews, a practice that was introduced during the business process outsourcing (BPO) boom, is now being reused by many as an employee-retention strategy to control attrition rates. As the name suggests, stay interviews are conversations that organisations have with their employees to let them know that they are key to the company’s growth. They are conducted to tackle anything that may cause employees to quit, or address any issues they may be harbouring.
Recently, CIEL HR Services figured out a senior manager critical to the recruitment firm had doubts about his future there. The firm proactively, as part of its talent-management initiative, had a conversation with the manager. MD & CEO Aditya Narayan Mishra said, “We gave the manager a clear picture of where he stands and why he is important for our success now and in future. He was appreciative of the path and that helped us in retaining this high-potential talent.”
Dell Technologies believes a leader is responsible for managing his or her team. Regional HR head (India) Ritu Rakhra reasons that it’s the leaders who will be able to best connect with their teams. “Their priority is to build a personal rapport with every individual member. Whenever there are red flags and a high-potential employee may be thinking of leaving, we expect the leader to step in and have that conversation and, if required, pool in the skip-level leader. An additional level can help the team member understand the situation and it also brings in a different perspective to the conversation. This is important for the team member to understand the commitment the company is making in his or her career.”
At Ericsson, while regular surveys gauge employees’ sentiment, stay interviews are conducted to better understand their needs. VP and head of HR for Southeast Asia, Oceania & India, Priyanka Anand, said the company is committed to act on feedback and transparently report on progress. “Trust, transparency and honesty between the leadership and its people in an organisation encourages the ‘speak up’ culture. Many employees choose to leave organisations instead of raising their concerns as they probably feel they will either not be heard or their issue will not get proper redressal. This way, organisations not only lose valuable talent, but the employees may have had to move away from a job they liked and thrived in because of lack of confidence in the management,” said Anand.
While stay interviews are typically conducted by the immediate manager, IT company SunTec Business Solutions follows a three-pronged strategy. This entails a connect with an HR buddy, the manager, and the executive leadership team. “Understanding what motivates employees is crucial to not only retain the right talent, but also to gather actionable insights,” said VP & global head (talent function) Prakash P Nair.
“In fact, over the last two years when the workforce went remote, and we even had to pivot to a hybrid model, such connects were key to identify challenges, provide the right guidance, and understand employee aspirations. Proactive conversations help gather valuable employee opinions and review their experience, while maintaining confidentiality. At SunTec, we also aim to ensure transparent communication,” said Nair.
How do leaders pre-empt an employee’s move?
We invest a lot in leadership development to ensure those right signals are picked up at the right time, and the leader is able to do the right thing. We truly believe that an empowered leader who is equipped with the right skills can drive success for the organisation,” said Rakhra.
Conversations around stay interviews gain significance in the current context where the external environment is weighing heavy on organisations that are unable to adequately reward high-performers. While on the one hand variable pays are being cut to optimise costs, organisations are bound to soft-land the impact on its top performers as, in such situations, it can become difficult to retain the best talent, said Mishra. “Stay interviews ensure that one is not headed for an exit interview. Counter-offers are financial in nature and devoid of emotions. They may not help a company retain an employee for long,” said Mishra.
[The Times of India]