Video: Why Most Retention Efforts Fail

Stay interviews are a noble idea, but asking employees why they might quit can easily backfire.

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Photo of a female waiter with dark skin and tied-back curly hair leaning against a magenta wall. She is smoking a cigarette and wearing a white t-shirt with the words “You can always quit” superimposed on a rainbow emerging from puffy clouds.
Photo of “You Can Always Quit” t-shirt, available here. Photo credit: Ash Ponders.

The Stay Interview: A Trauma-Informed Approach

This month, over a hundred people leaders joined our event to learn about stay interviews and workplace trauma. (If you read my last piece about how baggage from past jobs leads new hires to quietly burn out, this may not come as a surprise.)

If you couldn’t make the live event, you’ll find the video, along with closed captions, embedded above. For captions on mobile, you’ll need to watch on Vimeo.

To preview the content or access the slides and a searchable transcript, keep reading.

A vital topic for leaders of remote or hybrid teams

With the rise of remote work, employees have more options than ever. And with so much less face time on hybrid teams, it’s also harder than ever to stay responsive. To cope, HR teams are returning to a classic retention tactic, the stay interview, which promises to uncover critical issues before they lead to turnover.

But while proactive employee check-ins are a noble idea, in practice, they often ignore employees’ past work traumas. And asking for sensitive feedback without careful planning can backfire, skewing the results while damaging trust.

If you think your leadership would benefit from these perspectives, consider sharing this post in your company chatroom.


In this talk, you’ll find out the top mistakes employers make when asking for feedback. In the process, you’ll learn the foundations of employee research ethics and real-world tactics to create a safe space for radical honesty.

What You’ll Learn:

  1. How teams like Peloton use trauma-informed research to improve key metrics.

  2. Why every employee avoids raising some concerns (hint: it’s out of your control).

  3. How informed consent and confidentiality protect employees from regrets.

  4. Three things employees need to feel safe speaking up about their challenges.

Search the full transcript

Looking for something specific, or too busy to watch the whole thing? Read and search the full transcript, or use it to jump through the video.

Browse the slides

If you just want the TL;DR, or to steal a useful data point, the slides are available here.

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Benjamin Jackson