Human Resources News & Insights

Should you conduct 'retention interviews?'

Most companies conduct exit interviews with departing employees right before they leave. But some experts say to start the process sooner.

It’s a technique known as a “retention interview”: Someone in the company sits down with employees to find out why they’ve stuck around and what might drive them away.

What are the benefits? First of all, people have more of an incentive to take the process seriously if they’re still working for you. Also, it can help stop a retention problem before it starts.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of the process:

  • Set a schedule. Conduct the interviews on a regular basis. To make it simple, consider having them coincide with employees’ performance reviews.
  • Keep using exit interviews. They both provide valuable information from two different points of view.
  • Focus on key people. You don’t need to interview every single employee. But you do want to learn more about star performers and top-level leaders.

Retention interviews are also useful with new employees, since they’re the most vulnerable to retention problems. Some examples of questions to use:

  • “Are we meeting your expectations?”
  • “Who’s been particularly helpful?”
  • “Is there anything your previous employer did that can help us?” (That can give you ideas you haven’t thought of yet).
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  1. Just how truthful are exit interviews? Would employees really be unwise enough to tell the boss or HR person why they are leaving as they are going to use this company in the future for references? Especially if the boss or the HR person are the reason they are running for the door? Having experienced exactly that, I tried to be polite, say all the right things and got the heck out of Dodge!

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