Say goodbye to old exit interviews. California’s most successful companies are using stay interviews to boost engagement, support strategic planning, and so much more.

Exit interviews have been common practice for a long time, but current HR trends place an increasing value on ‘stay interviews’ instead.  The shift is consistent with the larger trend towards implementing solutions designed to solve the employee engagement crisis that’s plagued U.S. businesses for years.

As we recently discussed, employee performance management strategies are progressively becoming the gold standard for business owners and executives who are serious about empowering employees and helping them reach their full potential.  Stay interviews are one fundamental tactic of this comprehensive methodology.


Exit Interviews vs Stay Interviews: What’s the Difference?

When employees leave your company, it’s likely that they’ll meet with HR or an HR consultant to provide the organization with feedback on why they chose to leave.  The goal isn’t to make them change their minds but to learn how to correct issues for future (and current) employees.

Stay interviews, on the other hand, take a proactive approach to obtaining this information – as an element of the company’s greater engagement and retention strategy.  Instead of waiting until an employee has decided to leave, stay interviews are focused on capturing employees’ sentiments towards the company at all stages of the employment lifecycle.

Internal vs External Stay Interviews: What Are Your Goals?

There are two types of stay interviews – internal and external – and they accomplish two different goals:

  • Internal Stay Interviews are between an individual employee and his or her manager.  The goal is to create a meaningful dialog so the manager can uncover any potentially problematic issues that are hiding below the surface.  The challenge is that this requires well-established trust, which may not be possible for all employee-manager relationships.  The most common insights gained during internal stay interviews involve ways in which the employee would like to develop his/her skills in order to support continued growth.

  • External Stay Interviews are discussions between an employee and an objective third-party who is tasked with gathering information on the employee’s intent to stay with the organization (or not) and why.  While they are also one-on-one interviews, the goal is to gather data that will be used to systematically predict and prevent turnover within targeted employee segments.  This may include employees who are high-value, highly skilled, top performers, high-potential, integral to succession planning, etc.

Both the internal and external variations are valuable, and an organization shouldn’t choose one over the other.  Internal stay interviews can (and should) be conducted during semi-annual or quarterly performance reviews, but they should be supplemented with external stay interviews (which rely heavily on a promise of anonymity and objectivity to gather honest data).  Combined, your organization gains access to both individualized anecdotal information and quantifiable aggregate data – empowering you to create effective, comprehensive, and customizable retention strategies.

California Labor Solutions: Your Trusted HR Outsourcing Partner

Trusted in the community since 2007, California Labor Solutions LLC (CLS) is a specialized HR consulting firm – based out of Orange County, California – that offers comprehensive, personalized, and scalable outsourcing services designed to grow with your evolving needs.

As Founder and CEO of CLS, Shawn Larry takes a solutions-driven approach to human resources – working to inspire confidence in the CEOs and managers who depend on his leadership.  In addition to 20+years of experience in the field, Shawn has achieved many credentials and recognitions, including a J.D. from UOP-McGeorge Law School; California Private Investigator License; Certified Mediator; Senior Professional in Human Resources Certification (by HR Certification Institute); and Senior Certified HR Professional (by International Public Management Association).