Prevent turnover with exit and stay interviews

by Danique Geskus | Nov 8, 2023

The labor shortage is so severe that restaurants are closing their doors one or two days a week, departments at institutions are closing because they can’t care for their residents, and construction companies are postponing projects or not even taking them on because artisans are in short supply. So be thrifty with employees and try to keep them attached to the organization. With exit and stay conversations, unwanted turnover can be limited.


What are the 6 W’s of an exit interview?

An exit interview is conducted with employees who are about to leave. With their input, more employees can be prevented from leaving. An exit interview answers questions such as: how did the employee experience their time with the organization, what things can be improved and what is the reason for leaving? Topics that can be covered include the following 6 W’s:

  • Work content: range of duties, variety of activities;
  • Working conditions: safety, drafts, cold, heat;
  • Work relations: cooperation with supervisor and colleagues;
  • Working conditions: working hours, primary and secondary benefits;
  • Work atmosphere: enjoyment of work, sociability;
  • Workload: work pressure, irregular working hours.


How leavers become ambassadors

The exit interview also allows leavers to vent a little. Rather in private conversation than ending up on social media. If they see their reasons for leaving lead to actions to remove those reasons, it will do them good. Better late than never, they will think, and perhaps they will become ambassadors in the job market for their old employer.


Stay calls

The downside of exit interviews are: “they come too late for the employee who is going! The outcomes cannot change the minds of leavers, but they can change the minds of those left behind who are also thinking about leaving for their neighbors. Therefore, conduct annual so-called stay interviews in which employees answer casual questions such as:

  • what are the reasons you still work for us?
  • what do you like most about your job?
  • if you were approached by a headhunter, why didn’t you accept his proposal?
  • What strengths are we taking advantage of and how can we develop them further?
  • if we as an organization can do things better, what are the issues involved?

Enrich the “agreeable” aspects of a job and work environment in order to further enhance employees’ job satisfaction and bind them to the organization.


How to use the 6 W’s to engage employees?

Of course, the 6 W’s of the exit interview can also be conducted in the stay interview. If the Work Contentis varied and challenging and there is a proper balance between Workloadand Loadability, that is already two less reasons to leave. Employees with one leg outside the organization can be retained for the organization with appropriate measures.

With the results of exit and stay interviews, the reasons for leaving and staying become clear. This allows the organization to develop policies to combat unwanted turnover, which in a time of labor market shortages is a profitable investment.


Want to know more?

Want to know more about employee turnover? And how to address that? Also read our blog “Preventing employee turnover: 10 tips & calculate yourself!”.

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