An HR Glossary for HR Terms

Glossary of Human Resources Management and Employee Benefit Terms

Stay Interviews

What Is a Stay Interview?

A stay interview is when an employer sits down with an employee to gather information about the things the employee values about their job and to discover what the worker believes can be improved. In essence, a stay interview is similar to an exit interview, but it’s done with active employees rather than those heading out the door.

What Is the Purpose of Stay Interviews?

The purpose of stay interviews is, ultimately, to raise employee retention rates. However, many things can be discovered during stay interviews that are important for reaching that end goal.

For example, stay interviews allow employers to:

Are Stay Interviews Effective?

Yes, most employers find stay interviews to be very effective at giving a good feel for where their employees stand on specific issues, as well as their overall workplace satisfaction. When possible, feedback, motivation, and assignments can be customized according to what works best for the employee. This makes for a happier employee who does better work.

Often, stay interviews are viewed as more effective and appreciated than general employee satisfaction surveys. This is because the interview setup allows for a two-way conversation and for follow-up or clarifying questions. Any time an employer and employee talk to each other, engagement and retention tends to go up. This is especially true when action is taken based on the information gathered.

Do note that stay interviews don’t come without challenges. Here are a couple difficulties that may occur during or after a stay interview:

When Should Stay Interviews Be Conducted?

In addition to ensuring stay interviews are conducted before employees are getting ready to leave the organization, they should be done:

How to Conduct Stay Interviews

To conduct stay interviews successfully, keep them simple. Open by thanking the employee for their time, explaining the purpose of the interview, and encouraging them to give honest feedback. Then, ask questions to learn why they stay, why they might leave, and what can be done to increase their satisfaction in their job.

Here are a few specific questions to get you started:

To conduct stay interviews that are effective at increasing engagement and building trusting relationships, use these six tips:

  1. Conduct all needed stay interviews within a few weeks of each other so that the most current and accurate information can be gathered.
  2. Make the employee aware of the interview ahead of time, including its purpose and how to prepare for it.
  3. Keep the interview around 25-45 minutes long.
  4. If the employee seems uneasy answering stay interview questions, work to build trust and show transparency. In the meantime, make it possible for interviews to be conducted anonymously.
  5. Don’t include a performance review during the stay interview, and don’t mention the employee’s performance at all. Doing so may discourage the employee from being honest in their feedback.
  6. Express your gratitude for the employee and how you value their work.
  7. Have procedures in place beforehand so that effective follow-up actions can be immediately addressed.