Why Your Company Should Be Conducting a Stay Interview

A Guest Post by Karen Haslbeck, Head of HR at NexImmune

Do you know why your employees are returning in 2023?  Are you curious how you can keep them engaged, motivated and retained? If not, two words for you: “stay interviews.”

What is a stay interview?

A stay interview is an interview conducted with current employees to assess their job satisfaction as well as why employees are “staying” with your company. During a stay interview, you may ask your employees several questions with the goal of learning both what makes your company a good place to work as well as what may need improvement to increase employee retention.

There are several benefits of conducting stay interviews, including that these interviews can: 

  • Show your employees that you care about their thoughts and feelings regarding work
  • Help you build trust with your employees
  • Increase the communication between you and your employees
  • Allow for a mutual conversation between you and an employee regarding their current stance on work
  • Give you viable information needed to make positive changes within the workplace
  • Provide you with patterns and data related to your employee turnover rates

If done right stay interviews are:

  • A deep dive into what motivates your team. 
  • A replacement exit interview- Why ask the same questions when employees are leaving?
  • A way to take a proactive action in a tight labor market

But, as with any employee interaction you want to be precise and consistent on how and what you ask. The below offers you a great starting point.

Asking the right questions

Conducting stay interviews can be a beneficial practice for your company and may increase your overall retention rate of employees. However, there is a right way and wrong way to conduct stay interviews and knowing the best methods to interview employees can improve the overall outcome. 

Asking the right questions during the stay interview may be the most important component of the process. The questions you ask should be beneficial to both your company as well as the employee and should be asked in a way that encourages employees to be open and honest. Your questions should also portray that you care about the employee’s opinion and that what they say will be taken seriously. 

Three great questions to ask employees during a stay interview include:  

  1. What is the most exciting part of your job?
  2. What aspect of your job do you wish you could change?
  3. What factors contribute to you doing your best work?

In addition to the above, I also like to ask, “What should we as a company keep doing, start doing and stop doing?”

What to do after the interview

Express your appreciation for the employee

Be sure to express your appreciation for the employee participating in the interview as well as the work they do in general. You could say something like “we really appreciate your hard work in your position as [employee’s position] and you are truly a valued employee at [company name].”

Follow up after the interviews

Following up with employees after the interview shows that you appreciated their time and that you were truly listening during the interview. A follow-up email with a mention of something specific discussed or action items taken should suffice.

Use the information gathered to make positive changes

Taking notes and using the information gained during stay interviews to make positive changes in the organization is key to benefiting from these interviews. Decide how you will use the information ahead of time and then take action as soon as the interviews are complete to show employees you are serious about their feedback and improving the company where needed. 

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