What’s a Stay Interview and How Can It Save Your Business Money

As a business, it is important to know how your employees feel about their job and what improvements can be made to make not only them, but your business, more successful. If you are looking to improve engagement and retain key employees, there is one simple step you can take – a “stay” interview. Stay interviews are designed to engage employees before they become dissatisfied. But you have to do them correctly. It takes more time, money and resources to find or replace an employee than it does to retain them. That’s why conducting a stay interview is so important.

To pull off a perfect stay interview, you must aim to learn what makes employees want to keep working for you. Likewise, it’s designed to bring forth reasons why key employees may want to leave. By conducting several one-on-one interviews between a manager and valued employees you might find they are citing the same reasons for staying (or wanting to go).

Stay Interviews give employees an opportunity to voice their concerns and open up a line of communication— what’s working, what’s not working. By holding these interviews once a year, you can take what you have learned and promptly implement changes that are needed to keep satisfaction in your workplace.

How do I properly conduct a stay interview, you may ask? Here are a few general tips to get you started!

  • Interview approach: Start the interview by asking your employee something along the lines of “Thanks for taking the time to have this discussion. As one of our key employees, I want to informally pose some simple questions that can help me to understand the factors that cause you to enjoy and stay in your current role. During the interview I will also use a series of questions in order to identify any factors that could possibly frustrate you to the point where you might even begin to consider other job opportunities.”
  • Identify the factors that make the employee want to stay: For example, have them specifically tell you what positive factors cause them to enjoy their current job and work situation. You can continue with “job impact” questions like “do you feel that your work makes a difference in the company and that externally it has a noticeable impact on customers and the world? Do you also feel that your coworkers think that you make a difference?” By identifying these factors, you will get a better understanding of how your employee feels about his or her position and their worth to the company. Follow these questions up by diving into hypothetical questions regarding their dream job, where they would like to be in 5 years, growth and acknowledgement.
  • Identify the factors that make the employee want to leave: You may ask your employee “think back to a time in the last 12 months when you have been at least slightly frustrated or anxious about your current role. Can you list for me the frustration factor or factors that most contributed to that anxiety? Can you also help me understand what eventually happened to lower that frustration level?”

By conducting stay interviews with your key employees, you are able to reinforce the factors that are causing them to stay with your company, while also addressing factors that may cause them to leave. If you can get a head start in identifying the feelings of your employees, you have a better chance of ensuring those turnover causes never occur. The goal is for these employees to turn around and conduct similar stay interviews within their own team (a trickle-down effect if you will).

We live in an impulsive world where the minute an employee feels frustrated or undermined, they react immediately by applying for a new job and mentally checking out. This stay interview approach is meant to harbor management and employee relationships, while conducting market research as a business. The stay interview has proven to be easy to learn and highly effective, almost any manager can dramatically reduce their turnover rate and save hundreds of thousands of dollars by implementing this simple and inexpensive tool.

To learn more about how to conduct a successful stay interview, give us a call at 619-222-0119.



Skip to content