Would You Like a Stay Interview?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Would You Like a Stay Interview?

  • That's a great idea, as long as the criticism is honest (sometimes brutally honest) but constructive and as long the manager is actually receptive and opened to the feedback given by employees. My personal experience with managers, besides one exception, has been less than stellar so far. Working for small companies, the annual review (if it happens) is usually a joke and pretty much a one-way communication exchange where the manager fills out bullet points multiple choice questionnaires evaluating the employee from "need improvement" to "exceeds expectations".

    I really like the idea of third party, a neutral interviewer trying to really get the big picture across a department or even an entire organization. A single member of a team can have a personal aversion with a particular management style / behavior but it is really rare when large groups of employees all tend to convey the same feelings and consequently a great way to get feedback across the board and thus detect patterns.

    I don't want to divert the discussion but I have heard a lot about 360 interviews taking place in large companies and I am wondering if anyone could comment on those and tell us if they have been effective. Thank you.

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  • Our company actually paid for an anonymous "have your say" survey. Whilst there was alot wrong with the survey, I feel the concept is something worth improving on. I applaud the company for the attempt, although three 200 character free text fields was hardly enough for a real exhange of information. But at least it was a start.....


  • great idea in a perfect world

    in the real world, even with the best intentions on both sides, Im wary of these type of interviews. There is an information and power asymmetry between employers and employees - the more your employer knows about you the easier it is for them to keep your salary lower.

    for example, if in the course of a friendly interview with your manager you mention how convenient it is that you live close to work, or how you have just obtained a mortgage, they will know that you have a greater incentive to stay (and hence will accept lower pay) than someone in a different situation

  • We have something like that in the company I work in. There is a competence manager, someone from HR, who follows you through your career. He/she talks with your clients, gives you feedback, arranges trainings and so on. Once a year, there is an interview that is quite similar to the stay interview. It happens before the annual review, so we're not discussing pay rates.

    I believe such an interview should not be done during the annual review, as the only thing you will be focussing on will be: "Come on, come on, just tell me how much raise I will get". 🙂

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  • Microsoft has been doing this for years.

    They have an annual POLL online questionnaire. The answers are collated by 3rd party so by default you remain anonymous, unless you choose not to be. The aggregated results are granular down to a manager of 6 or more people. with plenty of space for you to write comments.

    They have an annual performance review similar to those mentioned above. But at the same time, the employees fill out a manager feedback form that goes to HR & is aggregated to form part of their managers perf review.

    Then 6 mths offset they have an annual "Career Planning" review. Very similar questions to your "Stay" Interview.

    In most cases when the employee is given their final Performance evaluation & discussion both their Manager & their managers manager. is present.

    This gives makes it harder for a poor manager to bury their people in order to hide their own incompetence. It also lets you see that the company takes your opinion & career very seriously.

    While some are concerned that this feedback could be used against them. Most could see the high value in the process. In my mind it was hugely successful. Best on my experience & 100,000's of others over more than a decade, your idea of a "Keep" Interview has massive merit.

  • I like the idea of doing this, if it's actually performed by a third party and only aggregated results are sent to the company.

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  • Here we have a couple of things.

    An annual survey for all employees with questions about what we think about the company, your boss, your job, salary, your insurance, etc. Its anonymous and we get the aggregate result at the end.

    Alsos we have 2 evaluations of our boss to do each year. Is your supervisor honest? helpful? respectful? competent? etc, name 2 positives things about your boss, 2 negatives things about your boss, comments on your department, the company, etc. The boss is doing at the same time an evaluation about us. After we meet each other and talk about what we write down on the evaluation. Also he asks if we need formation or something else (a new software, monitors, computer, desk) and we need to rate on 10 our salary, our job appreciation, the company, how we see our future in the company, etc.

    We also met with the boss of my boss every maybe 2 years. We talk about things more general about the company (what we like, what we dont like, ideas to improve company, etc.) and about my boss (things that I was not able to tell my boss).

    And also each year, the president and owner pick maybe a dozen of employees ramdonly to get their thoughts about the company.

  • It could simply be a bitch session, but then again, a valued employee might have some valid issues that the company could address. Taking myself as an example, I'm, less than actively, looking around to see what opportunities I might have available elsewhere, because, to a degree, I've done what I can do at this company and I don't see an avenue of growth. Should the company know this? I'd say yes, but how do they find it out without talking to me? Heck, I've told my team lead that my resume is out and he hasn't really done anything about it. Some companies just view their employees as replacable, which is somewhat true.

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  • It is definitely a matter of management attitude. Do they care what those who are doing the work think and do they want to retain people and encourage their growth. I would be most comfortable talking to or sending my opinion to someone above my direct supervisor. They are the ones who should know what I think and are in the best position to do something about it. I have participated in exercises like this, but they were just for show, it seemed management had no intention of doing anything with the feedback from the outset.

    Whenever I see anything like this coming, I remember the history of the early days of Mao Tse Tung. He asked all the artists and writers to express their true feelings about their government, claiming a new spirit of openness. Unfortunately for them, some of them did.

    I have also participated in 360 degree reviews. Having one of our more difficult internal customers say something positive about my work said more about me than just about any other benchmark could have. I also appreciated the opportunity to comment on some of the poor practices of my co-workers. Of course, you need a good manager who can sort out the vindictive stuff.

  • I like the concept of this stay interview, but the overall message in the article was that you should listen to your employees and find out what they like/dislike about working there. So if you're the kind of person that has rapport with your employees and makes an effort to get to know them, you don't need to schedule something like this.

    I think the concept of having a scheduled "stay interview" appeals to managers who don't have the personality traits that allow them to get to know their employees. They need to put something into their calendar that says, "10:30 - 11:30, walk around department and dispense thank yous to employees" in order to appear to care. So they would also need something in their calendar to get them to talk to their employees about what they think of working there. But for a manager's manager, this is information that you would want gathered, so either sending a directive to schedule it or hiring consultants to get it makes sense.

    Where I am now it's pretty easy. My boss' boss invited me out to dinner when he was down and we were working together a couple of weeks ago with our business analyst/project manager. So I was able to speak openly over a beer and some steak. Even though I had good things to say, if I had bad things, I would have said them too.

  • If you have to talk to a third party at your working place instead of being able to talk frankly with your boss about your career and where you want it go, then that should turn on a very bright light bulb for you right there! Talking to third parties about this kind of thing can end up getting you put on every crap detail that comes along. I have never seen anything good come from it, particularly in the very political dog-eat-dog IT industry. 😀

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  • Management in the IT industry is different from other industries. If you look at the resume of IT managers, you'll see that most of them actually do not have a degree in business management, and in many cases no university degree at all. They are simply former software engineers who eveolved into their current position on the basis that they stuck around longer than anyone else and know the business. Many of them would probably rather be doing cool stuff like developing application prototypes than dealing with human resources issues.

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  • Would I like a 'Stay Interview'? Where I am at now, in the culture that is prevalent – no. The culture would not support this as a real effort and there is not enough trust to gather truly meaningful answers.

    My perception is that in most organizations this would be a fad-fix rather than a real delving. So many companies just add little ‘feel/sounds/looks-good’ attachments into their process without any real culture change that the new process gets absorbed into the control-and-abuse cycle. Most organizations that need this have a deeper underlying problem; Agency theory management control based structures and poor accountability with limited, if not total, communications blockage. Companies with Stewardship theory management empowering structures and processes inherently have more open, honest, trusting communications with good alignment and agility of the productivity elements (task, tools, training, authority to act, accountability).

    Initiating ‘Stay Interviews’ would be a waste of time and resources for Stewardship companies because the communication and resulting adaptations and corrections are already part of the very essence of the organization and for Agency companies because it would be a ‘flavor-of-the-month’ instead of the real change required.

    I don’t mean to disparage or abuse any company that uses this now, but to me, it is a symptom that some core issues in trust need to be reevaluated and corrected.

  • David Lean (4/30/2010)

    Microsoft has been doing this for years.

    I had heard they did something like this. That sounds like a good system overall. I'd still like someone outside the chain of command in there, and with some power, but this is a good start. I think MS has a high degree of retention, so perhaps this works.

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