Stay interview – what, why and how

I know what a “job interview” or an “exit interview” is, but I had never heard the term “stay interview” until I read the article “Stay interview: the leader’s role in engaging and retaining talent” by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans today.

It is an interesting term for a concept that makes total sense for me. I wondered why I had not heard about it earlier and why it is not practiced widely.

We always do job interviews before hiring someone. Periodically we do performance reviews when we evaluate employees. And occasionally, we do exit interviews when an employee decides to leave.

But we rarely interview employees who are just staying.

Conducting a stay interview is a fairly new trend. After reading about it, I think stay interview is a great tool to retain valued employees and to avoid exit interview down the road.

Conducting a stay interview allows you to assess what’s working and what’s not, make your employees feel valued and heard, and build better relationships.

Stay interview questions could include:

  • Why do you stay with us?
  • What is it that keeps you here?
  • What might entice you away?
  • What are the things you like about your work?
  • What do you like best/least?
  • Are we fully unilizing your talents?
  • What makes for a great day at work?
  • What is it that keeps you motivated?
  • What is something new you would like to learn this year?
  • What can we do differently to best assist you?
  • Is there anything you’d like to change about your job?
  • Are there things you would like to change about your team or department?
  • Has something caused you to consider leaving? Has it been resolved?
  • What’s your dream job, and what can we do to support your progress toward it?
  • What is one thing that would make your job more satisfying and rewarding?
  • Do you feel supported in your career goals?
  • Do you feel we recognize you?
  • What kind of recognition would be meaningful for you?

Some people are concerned with “what if” fears. What if I can’t give what they want?  What if they don’t trust you enough to answer honestly? 

Be hones and admit that you can’t provide for your employees everything they want, but you can listen to them, hear their concerns, validate their feelings, reviewing their feedback, express your support and assure them that you will do what you can to explore options.

Whatever you do, be sure to follow up, and by all means, keep your promises!

Now take the time and ask your employees – “Why do you stay?” – before it’s too late.