Exit interviews do provide valuable information, but in most cases it’s too late. Even more insight can be gained from a “Retention” Interview. You can gain a powerful understanding by hearing what key people working for your organization have to say about life as an employee. What's working? What's not? How vulnerable are you to current employees leaving?
“Retention” interviews are intended to be pre-emptive. The interviews are focused on key people - those in positions of leadership or operational/business risk and also applies to all levels of employees. They can also help determine the reasons why your key people are staying or leaving your company. The interview allows an employer to really get to the heart of employee’s attitude and the driver for retention. They can help employers understand the positives of current employee experience and to get ahead of potential problems that might drive turnover.
Ask your employees, "What will keep you with our company? What might entice you to leave?" Then listen to their answers. Why are employees staying?
Beyond listening, you should respond, and what you say is critical. Responses like "that's unrealistic" immediately stop the conversation and might even cause your employees to launch a job search.
Don't wait for a formal career discussion or yearly evaluation. It may already be too late. Take your valued employees out of the office environment for coffee or lunch and use this time to ask important questions. The act of asking or inquiring alone has many positive side effects. The people you ask feel valued and important, which often creates stronger loyalty and commitment to the organization. This becomes an exercise in retention. as well as an opportunity to attract similar skilled talent.
“Retention” Interviews should be tailored to your company culture, talent acquisition needs, and business needs. It should be viewed as a retention tool as well as an opportunity to identify how to attract similar skilled talent.