What Is a Stay Interview and How to Make One

entrevue avec employés
Morgane Lança
January 9 2024

Today’s competitive business world makes employee retention a critical concern for all organizations. Employee and candidate expectations have changed, and companies are now experimenting with innovative approaches to attract and retain top talent.

That’s where stay interviews come into play: these meetings are designed to improve retention rates by asking the right questions and implementing relevant engagement strategies.

Read on to learn more about stay interviews and how to make one in your company!

Understanding Stay Interviews

A stay interview consists of a proactive conversation between managers or employers and employees. Its aim is to identify factors that contribute to good levels of engagement and job satisfaction in order to retain top talent in an organization.

Unlike traditional exit interviews conducted when an employee is leaving, stay interviews take place while the employee is still actively working for the organization.

Conducting stay interviews throughout the year helps open a dialogue that allows employees to express their thoughts, concerns, and aspirations. By understanding the factors that contribute to an employee’s decision to stay in the company, employers can make informed decisions to improve the workplace environment and address potential issues before they get out of hand.

Essential Steps to Conduct a Stay Interview

Here are the essential steps you need to take to conduct an effective stay interview.

1. Prepare your questions beforehand

Before conducting a stay interview, it’s crucial to prepare a set of thoughtful questions that delve into the employee’s experience, satisfaction, and future expectations. These questions should be open-ended and designed to encourage honest and detailed responses.

Make sure that your questions cover your main worries and practices you feel you could improve. For instance, if you feel like teamwork is lacking in your company, you should focus your stay interview questions on collaboration and communication throughout the organization.

If you’re not sure where to start, HR KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) can be a great way to guide your line of questioning: if you have noticed increased absenteeism, for example, you could prepare questions on workplace safety and environment or levels of motivation.

2. Choose the right timing

Timing is key. Schedule the interview at a time that is convenient for the employee and when there are minimal disruptions. This ensures that the employee can fully focus on the conversation without feeling rushed.

Stay interviews should also not be scheduled right before performance reviews – your employees might feel like their answers will be taken into account in their appraisal and not share honest feedback for fear of being negatively impacted.

3. Create a comfortable setting for the interview

Just like any one-on-one meeting, stay interviews should take place in a quiet and private place to create a comfortable atmosphere. Try to find a space where the employee feels at ease sharing their thoughts. For remote stay interviews, share the meeting link beforehand and to start the conversation with small talk to establish a friendly communication with the employee.

The most important thing you need to underline is that this conversation is confidential and does not impact performance. Throughout the discussion, make sure that you have the right posture and that you convey that the employee’s feedback is valuable to you.

4. Listen actively

We mentioned posture and attitude beforehand: these are essential aspects for constructive meetings with employees. The same goes for stay interviews!

Therefore, you should focus on active listening during the interview. Give the employee ample space to express themselves without interruption, and listen to understand, not to reply. You should avoid justifications or comments, and take note of key points that will help you ask follow-up questions and gain deeper insights.

5. Implement changes based on employee feedback

The value of a stay interview lies in its ability to drive positive change. Act on the feedback received by implementing relevant changes and improvements. This demonstrates to employees that their opinions are not only heard but also acted upon.

For example, if you realize from your interviews that your teams are not close-knit and find it hard to work together, you can organize team-building activities throughout the year, but also schedule collaboration and brainstorming workshops to encourage teamwork.

6. Organize follow-ups and future stay interviews

Stay interviews should not be a one-time event. Instead, you should organize regular follow-ups to track progress, address ongoing concerns, and ensure that the employee’s needs are consistently met.

Ongoing employee feedback will provide great insight to improve retention rates. Read on to discover effective questions you should ask during your stay interviews!

Examples of Questions to Ask During a Stay Interview

Here are examples of effective questions you can ask during your stay interviews:

1) Job Satisfaction

Asking your employees how they feel about their jobs on a regular basis helps you determine job satisfaction levels and change your management style if needed.

  • What aspects of your job do you find most satisfying?
  • Are there any challenges or concerns you’re currently facing in your role?
  • How can we better support you in overcoming these challenges?
  • What aspects of your job do you find most satisfying?
  • Can you share a specific instance or project where you felt particularly engaged and fulfilled in your role?

2) Career Growth Opportunities

Employees who grow with you stay with you! Stay interviews are great opportunities to determine if they want development opportunities and which skill or aspect they want to improve.

  • How do you envision your career progressing within the company?
  • Are there specific skills or areas of expertise you would like to develop further?
  • Is there anything we can do to support your progress in the company?
  • Have you received the training and support necessary to excel in your current role?
  • Are there specific training programs or resources you believe would benefit you and your team?


3) Work-life Balance

If you wish to offer more flexibility to your employees or if you want to review your current work-life balance policies, here are relevant questions you can ask:

  • How would you rate your current work-life balance?
  • Are there any adjustments or accommodations that could enhance your work-life balance?
  • Do you feel like you are able to disconnect when you are working remotely?
  • Do you have enough time in the week to complete your tasks on time without working overtime?

4) Recognition and Performance

Looking to improve your performance appraisal processes and your recognition programs? Employee feedback is essential to improve your practices in that regard.

  • How do you prefer to receive feedback on your performance?
  • Were you satisfied with your latest performance review results?
  • Do you feel like you get enough feedback on your work performance?
  • Is there a specific type of recognition that is most meaningful to you?
  • Do you feel like your contributions are appreciated on a daily basis?

5) Collaboration and Communication

In order to be motivated, employees need to get along with their teams and managers and to be able to communicate effectively. Here are questions to determine if collaboration and communication are priorities in your organization:

  • How would you describe the collaboration within your team?
  • Are there any suggestions for improving teamwork or communication?
  • Is there any information or updates you feel are lacking in our communication channels?
  • How do you feel about the frequency and effectiveness of communication within the company?

6) Company Culture

You can get a sense of whether your employees feel like they belong in your organization by asking the following questions:

  • What aspects of our company culture do you appreciate the most?
  • Are there areas where you feel our company culture could be improved?
  • What aspect of your daily professional life makes you feel like you belong the most in the company?
  • Do you feel like you know enough about the company values and organizational culture?


7) Motivation and Retention

These questions are specifically designed to determine if your employees are motivated and how you can improve their levels of engagement and retention:

  • Where do you see yourself professionally in the next one to three years?
  • Are there specific roles or projects you aspire to be involved in?
  • Do you feel like your work is purposeful and do you know the impact it has on the company?
  • Are there aspects of your work that could be changed to improve your daily motivation?

Every successful organization knows that prioritizing employee satisfaction and retention is crucial. Stay interviews are helpful processes in that regard, as they provide a proactive and constructive approach to understanding and consistently meeting the needs of your workforce. By fostering a culture of feedback and addressing concerns in real-time, organizations can create a positive and fulfilling work environment that encourages employees to stay and grow within the company.

Remember, a successful stay interview is not just about asking questions – it’s about getting honest feedback to improve your practices and demonstrating that you care about the well-being and professional development of your employees.

Need a stay interview template to get started?

Here is a free example you can use whenever you need!


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