top of page
  • Rachel Doyle

The exit interview has been switched to a ‘stay interview’ but it won’t work - here's why

The stats don’t lie - stay interviews don't work

Over 30% of candidates who have received and accepted a counter offer still leave that business in 6 months time. Why? Because the reasons and frustrations that they wanted to leave the company are still there. The offer of more money at the exit interview started to annoy them that they hadn’t been paid that already. The reality that perhaps they didn’t feel like they had been valued enough, there was no problem offering them increased pay but only at the point when they had stated that they were leaving. That or the fact that as they had wanted to leave and it had become known by other people across the business, it made their working relationships difficult and awkward once the trust was broken that they couldn’t work together in the same way again.

Don’t turn your exit interview in a stay interview

Genuine stay interviews only work when an employee is genuinely engaged and interested in staying with the company; it is an interview or conversation that takes place before they resign. The current phenomenon has been to carry out a ‘stay interview’ style in place of the traditional exit interview in the hope that an employer can convince an employee to stay with a business. However it overlooks one glaring issue - the problems that the employee has experienced with the business, whether it be pay related (although employees generally don’t tend to leave a job just because of pay) or a difference of opinion, those issues will still be there once the dust has settled.

Sometimes it is better to just part on good terms

Gone are the days of “lifers” and employees staying decades at a business. It does happen but there is a perception that if someone has stayed with a business over 10 years, that they are institutionalised into that businesses’ way of work and thinking. So if an employee comes to you with a resignation letter, start asking the right questions - find out why and what it is that they are moving on to. There is nothing wrong with an employee looking to move on to progress their career. Sometimes those opportunities arise externally rather than within your own business.

Use it to build a great employee experience

Be gracious in their resignation and thank them for their contribution to the team, company and hard work. At the end of the day, your employees are advocates for your business and custodians of your employer brand. Treat them well and with respect on their resignation and they will have great things to say to friends and family. Share your thoughts on social media and wish them well in their new venture / good luck to demonstrate to prospective candidates how they can expect to be treated as an employee of your business.

Use the exit interview as an information gathering exercise

Use it as an opportunity to understand more about the perception of employees of your business and to gather intelligence about challenges that exist both at a team, management cross department and business unit level. Understand whether there are cultural challenges that might have exacerbated things. Perhaps your employee wants to leave because you have underrepresentation of minorities or females or something else that is causing a lack of engagement with the business. If they are interested, they may wish to give you suggestions on how improvements can be made and where they can be made. It’s good to give them the opportunity to air their frustrations and for them to feel like their opinion is valued. Be mindful that they might not wish to give up a huge amount of their time, or conversely they may wish to share exactly what they think, particularly if they have significant grievances or feelings over situations or teams.

If you are seeing a spike in resignations it is time to act

At a bare minimum, you should be having a conversation with employees before they leave to find out what it is that has prompted them to leave. Sometimes it is just time for them to move on, but if you are seeing spikes in a team or department, the likelihood is that something else may be going on, or that the team is being poached by another business. It’s not time for knee-jerk reactions. Whilst someone leaving the business will interrupt productivity and be a challenge - sometimes you just need to agree to let them move on.

Employee reviews

Encourage engaged employees to leave reviews about your business and working for you - however, don't try and make this mandatory as you want it to be authentic as it can be. When employees are leaving, let them air and try to repair any potential grievances. However, sometimes things happen that are outside of your control and that cannot be fixed. Everything should be professional but sometimes people will say something face to face and do something else online. Glass door is the first port of call now when people want to find out more about a business. Bad reviews can have a significant negative impact on your future hiring ability so if you have a problem somewhere in the business and it is reviewed or shared on Glass door then own it. Tell your future hires about what you are doing to rectify any challenges you are experiencing.

Work with a specialist recruitment partner

If you need help with your recruiting get in touch with Auxeris, the tech enabled recruiter. We have a network of specialist recruiters that can help you with your recruitment briefs. They are experienced in a range of industries and are well versed at finding and attracting great candidates that meet your brief and cultural fit. Our services cover temp assignments, temp to perm and permanent recruitment. We believe in ethical recruitment and charge one low fee for recruitment to ensure employers get the best service for the best investment. Find out more here today.

bottom of page