I was delighted to see the article “‘Stay interviews’ to Improve Retention” by Karen Robeano, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, in the September 2017 issue. I'm a nurse in the field of oncology clinical trials who's passionate about creating a work environment in which staff can thrive. Over the course of my career, I've worked in several nursing areas with a high degree of turnover. However, in my experience, my organization's focus has been on the reasons why employees leave a job. This includes exit interviews and subsequent debate among supervisors and managers after an employee's departure to determine what happened and what could've been done differently. I've asked upper management in the past: Why do we focus so intently on why employees leave, when we should be focusing on why they stay?
Stay interviews are a great first step in establishing a pathway to retention, but what should nurse leaders do with the information and metrics obtained from these interviews? A suggestion for further action is to utilize this information as guidance to plan rewards, provide benefits, and motivate staff. In addition, as the workforce grows with the millennial generation, leaders must be cognizant of how to reach and retain this group. Unlike previous generations, millennials may not stay in one job for a long period and they may desire more constant feedback, making this group a great target for stay interviews.
Further study is warranted to determine if the reasons why employees stay are different than the reasons why they leave. Are the reasons truly independent from each other or are there similarities? Are the reasons positive ones, such as meaningful work, or personality driven? Or, did an environment of complacence contribute to the employee's departure? We may be able to answer these types of questions with the data obtained from stay interviews.
Thank you for your contributions to engaging nurse leaders in these important retention strategies.
—Jennie Feliu, BSN, RN, CCRP