Perhaps the only thing more difficult than fixing the supply chain is settling on the main source of its breakdown. From the effects of the pandemic to environmental catastrophes affecting infrastructure to the Great Resignation, there are no shortage of contributors. A top contender, however, is high turnover. During the height of the COVID-19 crisis, when employers and government officials initiated lockdowns as a safety precaution, the experience led millions of people to reevaluate their careers, with some opting to leave their industry entirely. As a 2021 survey from Gallup found, half of Americans are actively on the hunt for a different job opportunity. Many of these employees are in industries where a well-oiled supply chain is pivotal to success, including manufacturing, logistics and trucking.

Employers are implementing various strategies to blunt the employee exodus, one of which is stay interviews. Leveraging this strategy may prove effective in improving retention and — as a result — supporting your supply chain.

What is a stay interview?
As its title implies, a stay interview is a retention technique designed to persuade current employees to remain at their present jobs. Whereas an exit interview is more about the why  — namely, why a worker is quitting — a stay interview is focused on the how. In other words, it's a determination of how the worker's employer can make the job better.

How does a stay interview positively affect the supply chain?
Of course, there are many aspects to the supply chain. But a supply chain doesn't exist without workers there to support it and churn out product. If an extraordinarily talented individual in warehousing leaves their job, the supply chain winds up suffering, evidenced by increased downtime, diminished productivity, accounting errors and process redundancies.  

Stay interviews should ideally be more conversational in tone.Stay interviews should ideally be more conversational in tone.

Here are a few example questions for stay interviews:

What do you like best about your job?
Here, the goal is to identify what aspects of a job your star employees like so they can do more of it. The more specifics they can identify as to what makes it great, the better.

What do you like the least?
Every occupation has its downsides, some of which may be unavoidable. But feedback in this regard can help you determine what tweaks can be made to make the task less onerous or unpleasant. In warehousing-related positions, where manual labor is often involved, leveraging automation may be a potential solution.

What would lead you to quit?
The salary of a position is and always will be a contributor to turnover, but it's not the leading reason for why individuals opt to seek out a different job opportunity. According to a survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, the biggest motivator is a toxic workplace culture. Indeed, the poll revealed that an employee is 10 times more likely to quit in a toxic work environment than if another job is offering more money.

By getting out ahead of turnover and replicating the aspects of the job your workers enjoy — while eliminating those they don't — you can maintain or improve the performance of your supply chain by keeping your workers engaged.

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