With intense competition for talent, “Stay Interviews” have increasingly become a key retention technique to stay connected with consultants and understand if they are happy, motivated and professionally fulfilled or if they are feeling undervalued and bored. Staying in the loop with your consultants and providing them with career direction and professional development guidance are three effective methods for ensuring they stay motivated and productive members of your team for the long term.
When conducting a Stay Interview, try to make it a win-win for both the company and the consultant. Ask questions to see where the consultant would like to grow and share this information with the client to together develop a plan that allows the client to complete current work efforts but also position for learning and expanding the consultant’s body of knowledge. From my experience, our clients have recognized the value of the institutional knowledge gained by our consultants and are keen on retaining top performing consultants that have experience and knowledge of their environment. With the growing talent and skills shortages, professional development, reskilling or upskilling the team is at the forefront for employers.
For example, on a project delivery team if there is a Project Coordinator and several mid-level and senior PMs, when the need for a junior project manager is identified there are three options:
- Look across the organization for availability of a junior project manager;
- Evaluate project coordinators for promotion; or
- Explore externally.
Before looking externally, we would want to look internally to see if we can promote from within and backfill the project coordinator role. This action is very valuable in that you are capitalizing on the initial training investment as well as further grooming a resource that already understands the organization. The unintended consequence of immediately going external for talent in this example is individuals who are interested feel overlooked or undervalued. The lack of knowledge of team member interests, goals and aspirations in this example would have created a retention issue.
If a consultant feels they are ready to be promoted but you don’t agree, then it is important to explain why and moreover outline the experience that is needed to be able to consistently demonstrate before moving to the next level.
Regardless of the role, common questions to consider for a Stay Interview include:
- Are you happy in your current position?
- If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be?
- What challenges are you facing, if any?
- Do you have the tools, training and support from the team and management to be successful?
- What areas could we improve on as a team? As an organization?
The most important thing throughout the Stay Interview is to be honest, open and follow up on the discussion.
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