Stay Interviews


Our turnover rate is just too high – I need to increase employee retention in my organization.  What are some tools that I can use to help me and my team?


Just because you’re in HR doesn’t mean that you’re a mind reader. It can tricky to understand what is in the hearts and minds of your employees! One tool that has been proven to be especially helpful is a stay interview. Stay interviews are exactly what they sound like – it’s an interview asking an employee what makes them stay. It can be a simple conversation. Try starting out with “why do you want to remain with the company? What do you value in our organization? What keeps you engaged with us?” You can also gain valuable information on what might cause them to leave.

Stay interviews can help increase retention because the conversations are happening when the employees are there day-to-day and typically not planning on leaving. This is in contrast to exit interviews, which are typically conducted after the employee has already made the decision to leave the company or has departed. Exit interviews can be wrought with emotion, frustrations, and biased opinions.

Through stay interviews, you can gain valuable information like what employees’ value and do not value, benefits they need or don’t need, or changes they would like to see, allowing you to tailor actions that can improve the employee experience.

When planning to conduct stay interviews, doing your research up front can be valuable for success. Insperity has some strong interview basics to kick off your process:

  • Schedule your interviews ahead of time and be sure to communicate why you’re conducting them, so employees know they are important.
  • Give employees plenty of notice so they have ample time to prepare their thoughts.
  • Make sure the employee understands why you are having the meeting and what you are going to be talking about. (It’s fine to provide them with the list of questions you plan on asking in advance).
  • Make sure you pick a welcoming setting where they’ll feel comfortable to express their true feelings about the organization and what they desire.

You can treat these just like a performance review from a logistical standpoint, but the objective should remain different. Additionally, make sure to schedule the stay interview months away from the annual performance reviews to ensure employees don’t feel any correlation between their feedback and their review.

If you’re looking for a starting list of questions, C-Suite Analytics provided the below five questions as a great way to conduct an effective stay interview:

  1. When you travel to work each day, what things do you look forward to?
  2. What are you learning here?
  3. Why do you stay here?
  4. When was the last time you thought about leaving our team? What prompted it?
  5. What can I do to make your experience at work better?

In today’s tight market, the question surrounding increasing retention is an important one and deserves focused attention. Stay interviews are a useful tool to aid you in your employee retention program and definitely should be in your HR/Management toolbox.

Are you worried your top performers will soon be leaving for a new and different opportunity? Are you looking for a retention method that will also bolster your productivity levels and bottom line? Let Strategic HR help create and implement the perfect retention strategy via training and development. We have the expertise to conduct a Needs Assessment and/or to recommend training options for your staff. Visit our Training & Development page to learn how we can help you implement a successful training session.