Fuel50 Stay Interviews

Stay Interviews Are Key to Employee Retention – How to do one Successfully

This post was first published in July 2019

If employee retention and engagement are you biggest organizational challenges then you need to ensure that you are conducting stay interviews and that your people’s voices are heard. After all, if you don’t know and understand what your employees like or dislike about their role and the company, you can’t make any effective changes that may mean the difference between retaining and losing your top talent. 

“Giving an employee a promotion or pay increase doesn’t guarantee they will stay.”

Flight Risk? Stay Interviews Can Alert Managers
Sharlyn Lauby – Founder of HR Bartender

What is a Stay Interview 

A stay interview is defined by TestGorilla as “a structured conversation between an employee and another staff member – usually a line manager or an HR professional. The aim is to pinpoint the employee’s likes and dislikes about their role and the company, along with solutions to encourage them to stay on.” 

Stay interviews are often held within the first few months of a new employee starting a role, as this is the time when they are most vulnerable to leaving. By having a frank discussion, managers can hopefully get ahead of any challenges or issues before these drive the new employee away. Another stay interview should be conducted at the one year mark to ensure that new issues haven’t arisen and to solve them if they have. 


Who should do a Stay Interview? 

Stay interviews are not just for new hires though – managers should factor these into at least annual check-ins with their team, if not more frequently. Competition for talent remains fierce so it is important that organizations place emphasis on retaining existing talent and make the talent experience a priority. By making your people feel valued and keeping them engaged and motivated, they are more likely to stay with the organization thus increasing retention rates. 

How to Conduct a Stay Interview 

Key to getting the best from a stay interview is to have a relationship of trust. Your people need to feel that they will be supported even if their feedback is negative. One way to help create this trust is to hold regular, open conversations where your people can speak their mind without fear of lash back. In fact, this is what the stay interview is all about. 

While you want to keep the interview conversational so that the employee has the space to speak openly, you still want some structure to the stay interview to ensure that you, as a manager, get an accurate picture of the situation, and so that the meeting doesn’t derail.

Here are some ideas of questions to ask during the stay interview: 

  • What do you look forward to when you come to work each day? 
  • What do you like most or least about working here? 
  • If you could change something about your job, what would that be? 
  • What keeps you working here? 
  • What would make your job more satisfying? 
  • How do you like to be recognised? 
  • Which talents are not being used in your current role? 
  • What would you like to learn here? 
  • What motivates (or demotivates) you? 
  • How can I best support you? 
  • What can I do more of or less of as your manager? 
  • What might tempt you to leave? 

Bonus tip – keep the stay interview to around 30 minutes as this will help keep you both on track. 

When closing the interview, it is important to summarize the key responses the employee gave for staying or potentially leaving the organization, as well as to commit to developing a stay plan whether this involves gig work, upskilling or other development opportunities, connecting them with a mentor, etc. SHRM notes that it is also important to schedule a follow-up meeting to ensure that the employee’s individual engagement and retention plan is working. 

If you are looking for a solution to your talent engagement and challenges and want to get ahead of retention risks, then consider investing in an AI platform that can surface these people insights. Speak to one of our experts to find out more. 

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