Would You Like a Stay Interview?

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720511

    TravisDBA (4/30/2010)


    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!

    I'm not sure that's true. There are plenty of places where we use third parties to mediate or help resolve disputes. It's not always easy to talk to the person in the chain of command. Kids don't talk to parents about things they might talk about to someone else, military has counselors to help, it's a valid way to work through things.

    There are bad managers. Having a bad manager doesn't mean you should leave. Sometimes the manager should leave, or be trained, or be moved. That can't happen if all employees keep leaving. This process is as much about helping your career at a company as it is helping a manager's.

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 720511

    drew.stark (4/30/2010)


    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.

    Fair enough. Those are definitely issues that should be addressed and this isn't the way to do it. However, if there is a better environment, this can help keep employees.

  • TravisDBA

    SSCoach

    Points: 15780

    Having a bad manager doesn't mean you should leave. Sometimes the manager should leave, or be trained, or be moved.

    Steve, I agree with you absolutely, in the ideal world. Now, the real world is a much different story. Bad managers fire good people all the time! Why? because they usually can. I have not seen this work in reverse in the real world too many times at all. 😀

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • mike.styers

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 505

    I applaud any company that takes interest in its employees, and the Stay Interview could be effective with proper oversite from a 3rd party or maybe HR.

    At the same time, I've had several outstanding managers who showed interest in my career and backed it up, regardless of the company's view of personnel as supplies. If you are a performer, it is in their best interest.

    I also worked for a company that decided employees would write their own reviews. "Discuss your strength's and weaknesses". I was a little older and more distrustful of our manager than my just out of university team mates. I advised them that their weaknesses needed to be along the lines "I care too much, blah, blah." They decided the mgr meant well and anyway, it was the company's new policy. They decided to be honest and our manager used their honest responses against them at every review and every time the slightest mistake was made. They put the bullets in the gun aimed at themselves. The manager had no trouble justifying letting them go at layoff time. Especially those trouble makers who though honestly saying their knowledge could be better on certain topics, thinking that it would lead to training.

    I've benefited from former managers, but my general view is if you aren't managing your career, no one is.

    I'd be VERY careful in Stay interview. Maybe I'm paranoid... :w00t:

  • JP Dakota, PRC

    SSC Eights!

    Points: 976

    At my workplace we started doing survey stuff last year - supposed to be totally anonymous, aggregated, etc. When the results came out my team's manager sat us all down in a room and asked us who said what. It was not so anonymous after that. They're trying it again this year. WooHoo! I bet my manager and the company get great scores from the team I'm on! What a great was to show progress.

    In terms of HR, I often think of something Snoopy used to say - "Never trust a smiling cat." It has been my experience through many years of employment and management (I've been in the business world for 40 years) that most HR folks are smiling cats.

    I love the "Stay Interview" concept. If I have something to say, I'll say it face to face with the manager. Having an organized pattern of doing that may make sure managers and their reports keep communicating. If you look at the communication model, there's supposed to be sending, channel, receiving, sending feedback, feedback channel, reciept. I think sometimes that has to be mandated.

  • Mike Byrd

    Ten Centuries

    Points: 1304

    Having been on both sides of the fence, I would hope that the annual performance review includes a two-way dialogue for both the manager and the employee. I've been on the management side and when I had performance reviews for my employees I reviewed the "written" performance review and then went over details that were not written (speaking ability, working with coworkers, etc.). I then asked for inputs from the employee about what they felt was needed to perform their job better. This seemed to work well for me, and the only employees I lost were those that just had better opportunities than I could offer them.

    Now I am back on the employee side (my choice -- don't have to hire/fire/write performance reviews/etc.:-)) and don't get the same feedback I gave in earlier years. My current company does have an anonymous survey, but sometimes there are things you want to say that you just don't want written down. Maybe its my age (or me just being cantankerous) but (in my mind) the annual performance review is an opportunity for my supervisor to know what's on my mind. I did so in my last annual review with a no-holds barred dialogue. Good news is that I still have my job (with bonus), bad news is that very little has changed. But I still enjoy coming to work -- if you dread going to work on your job while driving in, then you are probably in the wrong job!

    Mike Byrd

  • Andy Torgerson

    Mr or Mrs. 500

    Points: 508

    Steve Jones (4/30/2010)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    However my feeling is that good managers are probably doing this on a regular basis, and bad ones don't care. So what's the point.

    I think there is a manager between the good one and bad one - the one who is learning on the job. I think a Stay Interview or any other idea that a company is using to promote open communication and feedback is good and will help those managers who are thrown into the fray. Often times, these managers come across as bad managers. In actuality they just don't know yet that their actions have de-motivated their employees to the point of leaving. A company who can recognize this and provide some proper guidance for this manager, would be helpful to both the manager and direct reports. Too often, you are just thrown into management and told, "Now you're working with the big boys, so the kid gloves come off and you have to figure everything out on your own." There's something wrong with that mentality, and I think its one reason why you see conflict between direct reports and management.

    - Andy

  • TravisDBA

    SSCoach

    Points: 15780

    I also worked for a company that decided employees would write their own reviews. "Discuss your strength's and weaknesses". I was a little older and more distrustful of our manager than my just out of university team mates. I advised them that their weaknesses needed to be along the lines "I care too much, blah, blah." They decided the mgr meant well and anyway, it was the company's new policy. They decided to be honest and our manager used their honest responses against them at every review and every time the slightest mistake was made. They put the bullets in the gun aimed at themselves. The manager had no trouble justifying letting them go at layoff time. Especially those trouble makers who though honestly saying their knowledge could be better on certain topics, thinking that it would lead to training.

    I could not have said this any better myself. Being brutally honest to bosses or third parties for that matter, as I said before, I have never seen anything good come from it. Bad managers just don't get fired as easily as good honest employees do. That's real world folks!:-D

    "Technology is a weird thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ...:-D"

  • jcrawf02

    SSC-Insane

    Points: 24198

    JP - and when your manager asked who said what, which one of the team told him it was inappropriate, and walked out to discuss with HR?

    I think a stay interview might be constructive, but in order to not turn into what everyone is afraid of (a list of things they can use against you) you should also have a feedback loop where you review your supervisor, which is taken seriously by management and HR. Telling a crappy supervisor what you need is a token, but being able to say that your management is not getting the job done, and having that taken seriously (balanced by your other team members' reviews) is where changes actually happen.

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    "stewsterl 80804 (10/16/2009)I guess when you stop and try to understand the solution provided you not only learn, but save yourself some headaches when you need to make any slight changes."

  • tlujan

    SSC Enthusiast

    Points: 130

    My previous company regularly surveyed for employee satisfaction etc. Unfortunately when the results came back negative, they blamed the employees for not understanding the questions, so nothing ever changed. After 7 years I finally gave up, found a better job, better pay, better bennies the perfect package. When they realized I really was leaving, thats when they tried the 'stay' interview. Too little, too late.

  • drew.stark

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 31

    double posted,sorry

  • drew.stark

    SSC Rookie

    Points: 31

    Steve Jones - Editor (4/30/2010)


    drew.stark (4/30/2010)


    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.

    Fair enough. Those are definitely issues that should be addressed and this isn't the way to do it. However, if there is a better environment, this can help keep employees.

    Yes, it may help; but where it is needed it is unlikely to be implemented with real results. Where it would be welcomed and effectively implemented the lines of communication and trust make it largely unnecessary.

    My view on management is that I manage material, processes, procedures, and situations. As a manager, my job is to facilitate people accomplishing productive work. I do this by identifying and prioritizing the tasks that are to be accomplished, ensuring that those who are to accomplish those tasks have the proper tools, training, authority to act, and accountability to accomplish the task, and then I get out of their way and clear obstacles ahead of them which I see and/or they communicate to me (that is part of accountability). I also make a particular effort to communicate my view of the results of their work in a positive manner. I try (and admit that it is sometimes a struggle) to make corrections in a way that is positive training for everyone rather than singling a particular person out for a mistake. I work hard at making sure that my team does not suffer for my mistakes or the mistakes of my super-ordinates or peers; I try to make sure that only honey roles downhill from me. I don not allow upper or lateral management to bypass me to ‘discipline’ my subordinates; if discipline is needed it is discreet. IF someone is not able to adapt then I move as quickly as possible to move them somewhere where they can shine. In all of this, if I find myself managing people, I have failed.

    Keeping this in mind, if my subordinates, peers, colleagues and super-ordinates do not have sufficient trust with and in me to feel that their discomfort at telling me something will be vindicated on their part by positive action or a reasonable explanation on my part then I have some relationships to mend. The open communications, trust, and dialogue that I work at within my own sphere is not always appreciated nor reciprocated (generally by peers, some upper management) but it makes for great productivity, agility, and innovation; people want to be on my team.

    The environment that I try to build for my team and within my sphere of influence is not shared by the culture of my present employer. Were my company to implement this process, it would be a farce. They do this, to a degree, now; the results are published and excuses are made. So, my experience has definitely prejudiced me.

  • sjsubscribe

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2080

    This is another sign that normal order of things, such as perf eval, annual reviews, peer feedback, and so on are not working. In one organization I worked, we had an outside consulting firm interview all employees every year, over a span of a week, and then they provided a summary of the findings to the board/management. After about 5 years they abandoned it because each year it seems the same issues came up with no appreciable changes implemented. Rather than implement changes, the CEO decided to get rid of the consulting firm.

    This points to one key fact: if the org is bent on making changes for the better, it will find a way to do it no matter how employees give feedback. If the org is resisting, then no amount of such feedback will help. Most employees can sense the true purpose of these techniques. For some workplace issues, such as working conditions, socialization, and things like those that apply equally to everyone, such techniques seem to help more than issues like compensation, bad managers, errors in strategic decision making, etc. One thing everyone agreed on was to keep HR out of these internal self-examinations.

  • OCTom

    SSChampion

    Points: 11755

    sjsubscribe (4/30/2010)


    This is another sign that normal order of things, such as perf eval, annual reviews, peer feedback, and so on are not working. In one organization I worked, we had an outside consulting firm interview all employees every year, over a span of a week, and then they provided a summary of the findings to the board/management. After about 5 years they abandoned it because each year it seems the same issues came up with no appreciable changes implemented. Rather than implement changes, the CEO decided to get rid of the consulting firm.

    This points to one key fact: if the org is bent on making changes for the better, it will find a way to do it no matter how employees give feedback. If the org is resisting, then no amount of such feedback will help. Most employees can sense the true purpose of these techniques. For some workplace issues, such as working conditions, socialization, and things like those that apply equally to everyone, such techniques seem to help more than issues like compensation, bad managers, errors in strategic decision making, etc. One thing everyone agreed on was to keep HR out of these internal self-examinations.

    This is exactly right. Company execs that tend to use such surveys or other instruments such as stay interviews do so only to give the appearance that they care. Most don't or don't have the time.

    A friend of mine went through this at his company and the boss just said if you don't like it to find somewhere else to work.

  • SQLRNNR

    SSC Guru

    Points: 281243

    However my feeling is that good managers are probably doing this on a regular basis, and bad ones don't care. So what's the point.

    I think this statement hits it on the head. If the manager is good, issues have probably been addressed, you may feel comfortable speaking your mind about issues, and you are probably more content. Bad managers won't change, you will continue to dislike your job and find a different job anyway.

    Jason...AKA CirqueDeSQLeil
    _______________________________________________
    I have given a name to my pain...MCM SQL Server, MVP
    SQL RNNR
    Posting Performance Based Questions - Gail Shaw[/url]
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