All you had to do was stay… or go?

What’s that? Another Taylor Swift reference? You bet! Today’s Taylor Swift inspiration comes in the form of STAYING. We all want our great employees to stay, and it is equally important to have tools and processes in place for when it is time for an employee to go.

A former manager introduced me to the idea of a stay interview. My first stay interview was so exciting – I was a relatively new member of the team and huge fan of this particular manager. The rules for the stay interview were simple: it had to happen outside of the performance review cycle, and it had to happen somewhere other than the office.

So, we went out to lunch. We talked about many things including what made me excited to show up at work each day, where I saw myself in five years, how my manager could best support and encourage me, and what might make me consider leaving my role. This dedicated, one-on-one time was huge in maintaining my engagement with the organization and in reinforcing my trust in and relationship with my manager. It also provided an opportunity for me to be transparent in my personal and professional goals, which set me up for a growth opportunity within the organization when the time presented itself.

I love the practice of catching your people doing the right thing. It improves employee engagement, builds trust, and makes the hard conversations easier.  

That brings me to the other beneficial use of these stay interviews: to help the process of helping an employee go. Whether it is an internal or external move, the beauty of the stay interview is that you have an opportunity to explore a team member’s aspirations and drivers and determine if there is alignment between those things and the opportunities at your organization. If there are opportunities, you can map out professional development goals that will help that employee in their current role and prepare them to be successful in what’s next. If there are not, you can be part of the process of preparing for their departure and coaching them out in a positive and mutually beneficial way.

Want to try it out? This template covers an ISEEC framework (introduce, stay, engage, exit, and conclude) which covers elements I’ve shared above along with accountability for action steps. Please let me know how it goes!

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