How to retain staff

What are Retention / Exit interviews?

Simply put it’s calling your employees or ex-employees and, preferably independently, obtaining open honest feedback on what they think of your company.

The information collected in an exit interview can give a company a unique perspective on its performance as an employer and employee satisfaction. People who leave are normally honest about their experiences without fear of immediate repercussions.


Why do Exit and Retention Interviews? 

          • It’s best practice in terms of sense checking how staff feel, measuring the employee brand and consistency within the business.
          • It can improve the recruitment process and candidate experience, making your organisation even more focused on finding the right people.
          • It often only takes a couple of “saves” – employees persuaded to stay following the interview, to pay for the year’s programme.  So as well as supplying hard core data, anecdotal evidence often will show the programme is delivering value for money.
          • Is your staff attrition rate high? Perhaps it is because your training is poor, or your manager does not talk to them or your working hours are just not flexible enough to meet their needs of work / life balance. Perhaps no one has asked or had the time to ask the member of staff who is leaving the question. Interviews will ascertain the real reasons why people are leaving your organisation.
            How to make sure your employees are happy
          • Are staff leaving soon after starting? Perhaps someone has started in the role but they are not being given the right training, development, or time so are unhappy and looking to leave. Retention interviews can save you the cost to recruit and train someone again when a chat may be be all that is needed to solve their unhappiness.
          • CIPD Resourcing and talent planning survey 2010 reported the overall employee turnover rate for the UK to be 13.5% Turnover levels vary between industries. Successive CIPD surveys of labour turnover show that the highest levels are typically found in retailing, hotels, catering and leisure, call centres and among other lower paid private sector services groups.
          • CIPD quote that using an external provider to conduct exit interviews will help employers capture more accurate data about why people are leaving, as individuals are more willing to tell the truth when there is reassurance of anonymity.

Do you ask yourself ‘How do I retain my employees?’

Depending on industry, size of business, and management style there are many reasons why people leave, some of the common ones are:-

Salary / Benefits – are you in line with your current market?

Management Style – do you know which managers in your organisation are communicating and motivating your team? Most leavers say they will return / stay with the organisation if they worked for another manager.

Lack of Career Opportunities – are your managers identifying talent and helping their staff develop by asking and taking an interest?

ALL these can be established through an open two way telephone conversation.

Are you thinking about conducting exit and retention interviews to help you retain staff and employ the best people? Click here to find out what Cohesion can do for you. 


The benefits of telephone interviewing

Although telephone interviewing as a selection tool has been in existence for a number of years now, recently more and more companies are recruiting both permanent and temporary staff using the telephone interviewing method, as well as a way to create a ‘talent pool’ for up and coming roles.

It is typically used as an additional way of sifting suitable applications, in order to create a very ‘short’ list for face to face interviews at a later date.


The continued role of the telephone interview in the selection process is due mainly to the following:

  • It is a time and cost effective process with each telephone interview usually lasting 20 – 40 minutes depending on the role. The process can reach large geographical areas without incurring any travelling expenses; therefore, roles can be recruited for throughout the world as time differences can be factored into the process with ease.
  • Telephone interviewing can be conducted in the comfort of their own home, travelling time and expenses are alleviated. In addition, employed applicants do not need to take off as much time as a telephone interview can often be factored into lunch breaks, evenings or even weekends.
  • While face to face meetings should always be included at subsequent stages in the selection process, the lack of visual contact at the Telephone interview stage allows for total focus on the applicant’s verbal responses. This is a great opportunity to discuss competencies and strengths of an applicant, without being distracted by visual and body language. The process is consistent for every applicant, and so helps eliminate discrimination in the process.


  • Telephone interviews can be tailored to each individual requirement, and specific competency based questions can be included, thus probing relevant experience and suitability for the role.  This is also a good way of assessing the candidate’s ability to ‘think on their feet’ as usually, there is nothing that the candidate can prepare for.  In addition, it can be used to test verbal communication skills and telephone techniques.
  • With well-planned and relevant telephone interviews, using either competency based or strengths based assessment, the conversion to offer from those successful at telephone interview will be high. Interviewing candidates who have not been previously telephone screened will generate an average conversion of between 20% and 25% (i.e. interview 4 to 5 candidates for one offer). With candidates that have been professionally telephone interviewed the conversion should be closer to 33% – 50% or more (i.e. interview 2 or 3 candidates for one offer)

    With enhancements being made continually to the telephone interview model of selection, it is certainly here to stay.

    Are you thinking about outsourcing your recruitment process? Click here to find out what Cohesion can do for you.