There is an abundance of research clogging the interwebs on the subject of onboarding; a credible whitepaper that I often reference is the Definitive Guide to Onboarding from Bamboo HR. In the report, the author includes a terrific stat from Aberdeen Research (another fantastic resource):
As many as 87% of new employees are not fully committed to a new job for the first six months.
This tells us that the vast majority of new employees may still be considering other options when they begin working at your company. They are still wondering if they made the right decision. They are still wondering if their skills, personality and expertise will be a “cultural fit” with your team.
And that’s unsettling.
Studies have proven that attracting, recruiting, hiring and onboarding a new employee is a pricey endeavor. REPLACING that new employee only adds to the hefty price tag, as well as reducing productivity with existing employees, lowering team morale from added workload and stress, preventing sales and other key business metrics.
Onboarding is a key opportunity for Talent and HR leaders to drive tangible business results in an organization. With effort, reducing preventable (regrettable!) turnover is certainly an attainable metric.
What if organizations, particularly hiring managers, had a decoder…a way to “check the pulse” of a new employee’s engagement and satisfaction during his/her first 30-120 days on the job?
It may not look like the decoder ring you found in your Fruity Pebbles box when you were a kid, but there is a decoder. It’s called a “stay interview.”
In case you’re not familiar with the concept, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines a “stay interview” as a conversation “conducted to help managers understand why employees stay and what might cause them to leave. In an effective stay interview, managers ask standard, structured questions in a casual and conversational manner.”
A stay interview is:
- An informal discussion to encourage engagement and retention
- A chance to discover strengths, growth and development opportunities
- A strategy to prevent regrettable turnover
- built on trust
A stay interview is NOT:
- A job interview
- A disciplinary conversation or corrective action plan
- A performance review or replacement for one
It’s no secret that the hiring manager is the linchpin for success for a newly-hired employee, and building that relationship on a foundation of trust is crucial. Conducting regular stay interviews during the onboarding period (and beyond) is an effective way to establish trust, capture feedback, check the new employee’s pulse and ensure his/her needs are being met in those fragile early weeks and months.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
If managers spend time focusing on why a new employee is excited, engaged and energized, they will inevitably have an easier time KEEPING them excited over the long haul. As with anything, we don’t know what we don’t know. And waiting for that exit interview feedback is too late – when a talented employee becomes frustrated enough to seek greener pastures in a different job, or possibly return to a previous organization – they’re already out the door; feedback isn’t going to help you then!
Consider enabling your managers to incorporate questions like these into 1:1 meetings and coaching sessions with new employees:
- What are you hoping I will deliver as your manager that others have failed to deliver in the past?
- What makes you jump out of bed each morning since you’ve started your new job?
- What makes you hit the snooze button?
- How has your onboarding experience here compared with past experiences?
- When did 5 hours feel like 5 minutes – what types of work do you enjoy most in your role?
- What passions, skills or talents are being underutilized in your new role?
- How can I support your learning during these first few months?
- What areas of our department/organization do you want to learn more about?
- When have you felt overwhelmed in your new role? How can I support you?
And yes, you should absolutely encourage managers to utilize stay interviews far beyond the onboarding period. This can be an effective method to maintain trust between managers and their direct reports, and a helpful tool during development discussions, coaching sessions and to break regular 1:1 meetings out of a rut.
Bottom line: STAY interviews can help prevent EXIT interviews!
Your turn: Do you use stay interviews as a talent retention strategy? If so, how have you enabled managers? What success have you measured? Share a comment below!
Big news from phase(two)learning!
Looking for a resource to enable managers? I’m very excited to announce my first book, Talent GPS: A Manager’s Guide to Navigating the Employee Development Journey, will be available in May 2017! Co-authored with Lou Russell and Brittney Helt, this straightforward, practical resource is a perfect tool to help both new and experienced managers take ownership of their employees’ development through every stage of employment.
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