The Words You Never Want to Hear from Your Best Food & Beverage Talent

November 6, 2017 in HR Best Practices



“A recruiter from our biggest competitor just called me – and I liked what I heard.”

Your best employees may never utter these words to you (for obvious reasons), but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from poaching. Make no mistake: In today’s market, your competitors are actively pursuing your high performers.

What’s the best way to ensure you never hear these words – or worse yet: I quit – from your top employees?

Conduct “stay interviews.”

Just what is a stay interview?

According to renowned HR thought-leader Dr. John Sullivan, a stay interview is a structured tool you can use with highly valued employees who are potentially at risk of leaving your organization. Following a one-on-one interview format, a stay interview identifies and reinforces factors that drive an employee to stay, while identifying and minimizing factors that could drive the employee to leave.

Stay interviews are an incredibly powerful retention tool.

In this article, Dr. Sullivan explains a few of the key benefits of a stay interview:

  • It shows you care about an employee. The simple fact that you take the time to discuss an employee’s future demonstrates your commitment to their satisfaction.
  • It’s personalized. The interview is customized for each employee, keying into their wants and goals.
  • It’s positive. Unlike the typical exit interview, most of a stay interview focuses on identifying and reinforcing the aspects of their job the employee enjoys.
  • It’s action-oriented. Rather than merely identifying (and learning from) problems and mistakes, a stay interview encourages both you and the employee to identify actions that can improve their work experience, reduce sources of frustration, and minimize or eliminate causes of turnover.

Perhaps most importantly, a stay interview is proactive – so you can address issues before a key employee quits.

How should you structure a stay interview?

The questions you plan should be customized to the employee’s current role and potential career trajectory. Ideally, your interview should include the following basic elements:

  1. An introduction. Review the purpose of the interview. Stress that you want to understand and maximize factors that make the employee happy, while identifying and minimizing factors that could drive the employee to look for other opportunities. Explain that you’d like to have an informal discussion, and that the employee’s candid feedback is important.
  2. Questions to identify positive “stay” factors. Gather information about aspects of the employee’s job that are enjoyable and fulfilling. Find out if the employee feels they are doing the best work of their life, as well as whether they feel their talents and skills are being fully utilized. If gaps exist, discuss actions you could take to make the opportunity more challenging, rewarding and positive.
  3. Questions to identify triggers that could lead to turnover. Ask what it would take for a competitor to lure the employee away. Identify recent issues that caused anxiety, stress or frustration, and discuss factors that caused them to leave other jobs. Use what you learn as a starting point for creating a proactive retention action-plan.

Improving Retention Starts with Hiring Your Ideal

With decades of experience in food & beverage C-level and executive recruitment, Kinsa Group knows how to recruit for longevity. Our recruiting process ensures the candidates we refer:

  • have the skills and experience to succeed;
  • possess the “soft skills” and personality to thrive in your culture;
  • bring the energy and the best practices to help your company achieve its objectives.

There’s an ideal out there. Trust Kinsa to help you find it.