One Proactive Employee Retention Strategy: Stay Interviews

| March 16, 2023

Employers are always looking for ways to retain their most valuable employees, and it's often difficult to pinpoint why some of them end up jumping ship. Instead of waiting until things get to this point, there's a more proactive approach called the "stay interview". A stay interview is an open and honest conversation with employees that can help shed light on what motivates them to stay and what factors may cause them to leave. With this knowledge, employers can take action to address any issues and create a work environment that keeps employees engaged and motivated. 

But stay interviews aren't just about retaining employees - they're also about building stronger relationships between employers and employees. When employees feel heard and valued, they are more likely to be loyal and committed to the company. And when employers take the time to listen to their employees' concerns and suggestions, they can create a work environment that everyone feels good about.

During a stay interview, employers should ask open-ended questions to encourage employees to share their thoughts and feelings. The goal is to create a safe and comfortable space where employees feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions. The meeting doesn't need to be long and overall, it's a small investment of time that can pay off in a big way for your organization's success.

Sample Stay Interview Questions

What managers ask during a stay interview will differ depending on the organization and the employee, but here are a sample of questions that could be asked, sorted by category:
- Motivations for Staying
  • What motivates you to work here?
  • What do you like most about your role?
  • What’s your favorite part of the workday?
  • If you had to rate how happy you are with your job, what would you give it on a 10-point scale?
  • Can you tell me about a good day at work you had recently?
  • If a close friend asked you why you work here, what would you tell them?
- Motivations for Leaving
  • What demotivates you when working?
  • Can you describe a bad day you recently had at work?
  • What aspects of your day make your work life harder?
  • If you could choose, what aspect of your job would you change?
  • What are your thoughts in the morning on your way to work?
  • What do you like least about your job?
- General Questions
  • Do you feel appreciated?
  • If you could change any aspect of the organization or your job, what would it be?
  • What would cause you to consider leaving the organization?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • How do you prefer to receive recognition for hard work?
Addressing Feedback
After all the stay interviews are complete, managers should compile feedback and determine aspects to focus on. It’s important to take swift action, even if it’s just starting a longer process. If managers sit on the feedback too long, employees may feel like their voices were not heard and may not speak up in the future about how their feeling. 
If your organization cannot implement changes for whatever reason, be sure to communicate that to employees. Do your best to offer alternative solutions so employees know that their feedback was seriously considered.