Stay Interviews – A Tool for Retention in an Unprecedented Job Market

We have all seen the help wanted and urgently hiring signs. Even before the pandemic, it was challenging to attract talent into the Insurance industry, but these are truly unprecedented times. The average unemployment rate in Ohio is 4.4%. There are currently 100,000 more job openings in Ohio than unemployed workers.

The War for Talent is raging. Salaries are increasing, signing bonuses are tempting, and worker expectations are rapidly shifting. 25% of all workers now have some element of remote/hybrid work available in their jobs and 80% of millennials list workplace schedule flexibility as their #1 priority in a job.

We will save finding new talent for a future article. But the number one question you should be asking yourself is, “What am I doing to retain the talent I already have?” The cost of turnover is always high. But in this market it will take even longer and cost significantly more to replace the experience and productivity of your current staff. Do you know how your current staff are feeling about their job, their relationship with you and their coworkers?

You most likely have heard of an exit interview. In most cases an exit interview comes too late to make a difference. Once an employee makes the emotional decision to leave and turns in their resignation, the chances of retention are slim. A leadership best practice is to build relationships and open lines of communication before a staff member makes the decision to leave.

A Stay Interview is a simple tool you can use to initiate conversations with your staff. The goal is to build trust and put you in the driver seat to implement personalized strategies to retain critical talent. Attached is a guide that will help you step by step through the conversation.

The good news is that most employees don’t want to change jobs. If pay is considered fair/equitable the top reasons employees quit are:

  1. Toxic work culture/Bad relationship with boss
  2. Perceptions of Company/Job Stability
  3. Flexibility
  4. Career Development/Personal Growth
  5. Lack of Recognition

All of these reasons are within your control as a leader. A Stay Interview helps dig into the key drivers of workplace retention. You may be thinking to yourself that I’m too busy or don’t have the time to dedicate to stay interviews. I would argue that in the current market that after sales, there is likely not a more important use of your time.

What is the potential impact of losing a producer or the account manager that all of your clients know and love?  Stay interviews when practiced consistently build trust communication and relationships over time. Even if you learn an employee is planning to leave and there is nothing you can do to retain them, you still benefit. The knowledge allows you to plan for the transition instead of being caught off guard. You can start cross training and documenting knowledge and process for their replacement.

If you have questions about Stay Interviews or other HR questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out  ( If you use the tool, please drop me a note to let me know how it went.

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