By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

When your practice feels like it’s running smoothly on all cylinders, the more likely you are to put your attention farther out into the future. That’s a normal reaction, and a good thing in the sense that things are going well enough that you can afford to look that far down the road. It’s also the time, however, when a little preventive action can help you avoid the surprise of “goodbye”.

When your practice is in need of improvement – in process, systems, whatever – employee dissatisfaction rises to the surface more readily and is more visible. You may not be able to do much about it, but you know it’s there. The same dissatisfaction is often there when things are going smoothly. It’s simply more easily overlooked.

The “stay interview” could be your tactic for dealing with this phenomenon.

Using a stay interview is good for you and for your employees. By finding out why your employees haven’t left for other practices, you will learn your strengths as an employer. You can then build on those strengths and use them as part of your effort to attract new employees. At the same time, the concerns that your employees may voice will give you clues to how you need to improve in order to avoid hearing “goodbye”.

Because of the very individualized and personal nature of the conversation, stay interviews are best done in a one-on-one setting. After asking your own questions, give employees the chance to ask some. Invite them to talk about career goals, likes and dislikes of their positions, and working within the practice as a whole. The stay interview is a great way to show your employees how valuable they are to your practice.

Don’t overlook doing a stay interview with those who are higher in the pecking order in your practice. You’ll get the same benefits as with lower-level employees, plus you can model the proper way they should conduct the stay interview with their team.

What should you ask? Here are a few suggestions:

  • What do you like best about your job? Least?
  • Do you think your current position fully utilizes your talents? What would you change about it if you could?
  • What would be a specific reason that would cause you to leave us?
  • What have you learned since working here? Do you have anything new you’d like to learn this year?
  • Do you feel recognized for your contribution to the practice? If not, what kind of recognition would be meaningful for you?
  • What can I do to help you stay longer?

As a practice leader you may feel uncomfortable the first time you do a stay interview if you’re not accustomed to asking questions like this. Keep in mind, though, that your employees aren’t accustomed to hearing them. In the end, you can avoid the surprise of “goodbye”.

John Borrowman