Four core skills are needed to conduct an effective stay interview:
1. Careful listening. Effective listening involves more than a person’s ears. Eye contact, body language, and verbal responses are crucial cues for demonstrating attention and authenticity. One tool is to strategically use the phrase: “Let me tell you what I heard you say to see if I got it right.” Another key is to restate the employee’s emotions in words that show comprehension and empathy.
2. Taking notes. Pen and paper are more useful for note taking than electronic devices. Notes allow management to capture all critical points for later reference. Taking notes also shows employees that their opinions are of genuine importance. It also aids in keeping similar employee comments separate and distinct.
3. Probing. Questions such as “Can you give me an example?” or “Can you tell me more about ?” are open-ended and allow employees the freedom to offer new and important information. Probing can discover the root of an employee’s urge to terminate his or her employment.
4. Owning up to corporate decisions and corporate responsibilities. Managers must demonstrate support for company policies while also maintaining trust with workers. Good managers must be able to state honestly that they support executive decisions and that they believe executives make decisions based on knowledge that is unavailable to management and employees.