when heather wright worked as a Human Resources Coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society in 2010, she conducted countless exit interviews. One by one, she looked at the people quit without looking back—but not before dumping some harsh truths into his lap. She heard about ineffective leadership, dysfunctional teams, and difficult interpersonal dynamics. “There really wasn’t much to lose by leaving the staff,” she says. But, at the exit interview stage, it was too late for those employees to make positive changes – changes that might have been reassuring. them to stay. “I always thought it was such a shame.”
Now, Wright is using those learnings from his early career experiences to weed out employees before they happen. as vice president of people and technology bc marine employers association (BCMEA), Wright introduced “stay interviews” for the organization in 2019. They’re exactly what they sound like: an interview that’s conducted with employees while they’re still working at the company rather than when they’re on the way out. , aims to involve employees understand how they feel and create conditions that make them want to stop in the organization.
On an annual basis, the company’s HR leaders convene 85 employees spread across eight departments (including Labor Relations, Data Analytics and Dispatch) to meet face-to-face and talk through 10 open-ended, direct interviews. Questions like, “When was the last time you thought about quitting BCMEA? What inspired it? It’s not used for team members to be honest about feelings related to challenging work, yes, but it’s essential to keeping employees happy, committed, and engaged, Wright says. After one hour of interviews, departmental subjects are anonymized and a summary is passed to Wright, the CEO and department leader. From there, the BCMEA comes up with a plan to address the systemic problems plaguing employees.
High employee engagement is good for business. a gallup study found Businesses with engaged workers have 23 percent higher profits and lower rates of absenteeism and turnover. A 2021 report found that each year, employee turnover costs organizations anywhere from $23,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of the workplace.
finding out how the employees are In fact Realize that their job doesn’t happen by accident. Stay interviews at BCMEA were the result of a multi-year mission to improve the organization. In 2017, Wright introduced a 12-question Gallup survey to measure employee engagement. The first year’s results were not stellar; only a quarter Employees felt actively engaged and committed to their work.
“If you ask people their opinion and nothing changes, it’s a waste of everyone’s time.”
With a mission to raise BCMEA’s survey score, live interviews were rolled out to better understand employee needs: What talents did they feel were underutilized? What would they change about their department if they could? Do they see a future in the company? Year after year, his score went up.
The company briefly paused stay interviews when the pandemic hit, but Wright didn’t want the scores to stop, so early last year, he re-introduced them as a strategic way to gather data on employee satisfaction. to be done. and increase workplace By addressing issues such as process inefficiencies. Wright learned that the eight-person IT team felt disconnected from the organization’s broader strategy. They didn’t see how their daily work added value to the bigger picture. Wright says the team wanted a deeper understanding of the company’s purpose, so he met with the head of the IT department to schedule a full-day strategy session with the entire group. An outside facilitation specialist analyzed the company’s existing plans, and the IT team collaborated to create its own departmental strategy that met that overarching goal.
Last year’s stay interviews provided candid feedback on management styles, communication strategies that didn’t work and suggestions for more wellness initiatives. As a result, the BCMEA made changes such as adding mental health services to its benefit plan to better support employees. Wright says the approach has paid off. This year, BCMEA had its highest employee engagement score ever, with 78 percent of BCMEA employees feeling excited about both their work and their workplace. revolves around the national average accept it,
Wright’s method has been instrumental in helping employees feel engaged, and even Gallup is asking for tips on how to stay on the interview process. his advice? Don’t collect data just for the sake of it, actually put it to use. “If you ask people for their opinion and nothing ever changes, it’s a waste of everyone’s time,” she says.