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Retention interviews: A new way to collect employee feedback

Posted April 6, 2022

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Looking for a successful way to improve employee retention at your company? Retention interviews could be your answer. Instead of only relying on exit interviews and employee surveys to learn more about your workplace culture, retention interviews provide even more insight into the employee experience at your company. Check out this episode of our Benefits Buzz podcast as we discuss the ins and outs of the retention interview process. Or keep reading to learn more.

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What are retention interviews? 

Retention interviews are one-on-one conversations between employees and HR to help determine how employees are feeling about their jobs and receive direct feedback on the possible reasons why employees might choose to either stay or leave their current position.

Retention interviews present a great opportunity for employers to see what is working in each department of the company and what needs to be improved. Employees are able to share their experiences in a safe space one-on-one with HR and know their voices are being heard.

“As HR, I’m stepping in as a neutral third party to help facilitate these conversations while still keeping things anonymous,” said Chelsie Camp, human resources business partner at WEX, on our Benefits Buzz podcast. “We’re making sure employees don’t feel like they’re going to get backlash for sharing information, so I don’t share specifics on employees. I take a pulse on the entire department instead of just the individual.”

How do you determine who receives a retention interview? 

A key component to successful retention interviews is to include a wide demographic so you can ensure you’re interviewing a diverse pool of employees. Break the interviews up by department, making sure you’re including a variety of job positions, tenure status, and employment history. It’s a good idea to interview at least 25% of the department to receive the most accurate feedback.

One of the obvious answers to determining who receives a retention interview are teams with a high turnover rate. It’s important to find out the reasons behind the high turnover and what possible solutions could solve this problem. On the other hand, you also don’t want to leave behind employees that are currently feeling okay with their jobs. Showing these employees that you value their work and their opinions could prevent them from turning into an unsatisfied employee in the future.

What do you do after the interview is over?  

Retention interviews are beneficial when you take action on the data you’ve collected. The first step is to evaluate the interview, including: 

  • The quality and quantity of employees’ answers 
  • Their body language
  • What topics they focused on the most

Try linking the questions and answers from the interview to only the job role instead of the employee’s name or demographic so the data is completely unbiased. Develop a ranking system to determine if the job role is green (little to no concerns), yellow (some concerns), or red (retention risk). Take the average of these individual results to determine the risk level of the team as a whole.

Next, meet with the team’s senior leadership and give a full department overview of the feedback you received, your team ranking, and potential solutions to problems brought up by the team. Stress the importance of senior leaders working with their teams on how to create an improved employee experience

“A key part of this process is to get senior leadership buy-in and make sure senior leadership is on the same page as us,” Camp said. “The worst thing we can do is ask for employee feedback and then do nothing with it.”

Don’t forget to reach out to the employees you interviewed a few months later to ask about their experience with their retention interview. Ask questions like: 

  • Have they seen any positive results? 
  • Has their job experience improved over the last few months? 
  • Do they see value in the retention interviews process?

Are you looking for more ways to retain your best employees? Enhancing your employee wellness offerings can help. Get your free guide to learn more!

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The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.

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