Conducting Retention interviews is an integral part of your employee experience

Conducting Retention interviews is an integral part of your employee experience

Conducting Retention Interviews is a necessary part of your employee experience. Retention data is important – our clients tell us that, without clear data, they cannot make reliable decisions on which HR initiatives are likely to have the most positive impact on why employees choose to stay.

Employee benefits; such as better pay, better training, and a better benefits package – all come at a cost to your company. So, it makes sense that clear and robust retention data helps HR teams to pinpoint which initiatives will have the greatest impact. Conducting Retention Interviews in the way most suited to your company is massively important.

Choosing how to generate good retention data is key – get it wrong, and you’re unlikely to find out any more than you already know. But, how do you go about choosing the right tool?


Your preferred option should satisfy two needs – high response rate, and honest feedback.

So, what are your options?

  • Face-to-face

Conducting Retention Interviews face-to-face would, arguably, generate the highest response rate. Think about it – you can’t ignore your line manager, or your HR team, if they’re right in front you, can you?

This approach might, however, have a detrimental effect in terms of honest feedback – new-starters are less likely to point out the negatives with their Manager, especially if they have an issue which is directly related to their Manager. Consequently, conducting Retention Interviews face-to-face may be limited in delivering honest feedback.

Dependent on the size of your company, and staff turnover levels, face-to-face methods can put a lot of pressure on your HR or Operational resources. If you are unsure on whether you will be able to commit the resource to manage this internally, face-to-face might not produce the right outcomes.

  • Telephone

Another option is to conduct Retention Interviews over the telephone.

Arguably, telephone interviews may produce a similar amount of unreliable feedback as face-to-face interviews. However, this can be mitigated by addressing the lack of anonymity. You can do this by having them carried out by someone other than their immediate line manager.

Again, if the manager or HR team cannot commit to consistently conducting these interviews, the reliability of your data will suffer. The amount of people that you can speak to is directly related to response levels. In our experience, conducting telephone interviews outside of working hours is an effective way of driving the response rate upwards.

If you’re not convinced you can commit resources to constant telephone interviews, then your data is going to be just as unreliable. Another option, however, could be to collaborate with an outsourced provider. This will guarantee anonymity for the new-starter, improving the quality of the data whilst also gaining more of it – allowing your HR teams to make more reliable decisions. But, this option comes at a cost. So, be clear about your likely Return on Investment, before you invest.

  • Online/email

A third option would be asking your new-starters to conduct the Retention Interview via email/online. The response for this approach, as you may expect, can be considerably lower than the other two. Think about it – how easy is it to ignore an email?

However, much like the telephone interview, it can offer some form of anonymity. Therefore, this approach may generate good levels of honest feedback.

Your internal HR team, by all likelihood, will face a limited impact once you’re all set up.

Whilst it’s important to approach your audience in the right way – the best Retention Interviews will align with 3 components; the way you approach them; when you approach them, and; the questions that you ask.


From the point-of-view of an outsourced provider, we’ve tried and tested all three of these methods. Telephone Retention Interviews achieved by far the greatest level of response (achieving over an 80% average across our client base). They also produce a lot of actionable and honest feedback. This is why we don’t do it any other way!

How will you approach your employees? We’d love to hear in our comments below!

Conducting Retention Interviews