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The Value of Stay Interviews

Paying attention to the heartbeat of your culture is the key to employee engagement and retention. Adding stay interviews to your engagement and retention strategies will help your organization retain your critical talent so they won’t be motivated to seek out greener pastures. It is the single best tool you can give to your managers.


Taking the time to speak with your employees will accomplish the following:

  • It will motivate the employees and excite them simply by the fact that the organization took the time and is concerned about their future.

  • Unlike surveys and many other retention tools that are primarily focused on what excites many employees, this approach is customized to a single identifiable individual and their needs and wants.

  • Unlike exit interviews which only identify problems, stay interviews encourage the parties to identify actions that can improve the employee experience and actions that can help eliminate any major turnover triggers.

Adding stay interviews to your engagement and retention strategies can help your organization retain critical employees.


Below are suggested questions to ask when conducting this interview:


1. What do you look forward to each day when you commute to work?

  • Give me an example.

  • Tell me more about …

  • Who do you look forward to working with the most?

2. What are you learning here, and what do you want to learn?

  • What other jobs here look attractive to you?

  • What skills do you think are required for those jobs?

  • What skills would you have to build to attain those jobs or some responsibilities of those job?

3. Why do you stay here?

  • Tell me more about why that is so important to you.

  • Is that the only reason you stay or are there others?

  • If you narrowed your reasons to stay to just one, why would it be?

4. What can I do to make your job better for you?


Remember to listen 80 percent of the time. Probe to learn more. Probing not only develops more information, but also shows you care. You also might want to take notes in order to capture key points.


The stay interview helps managers understand their employees’ goals and how they and the organization can ensure they will continue to be engaged and excited about their jobs. The stay interview is also an opportunity to build trust with employees and a chance to assess the degree of employee satisfaction and engagement that exists within a department or company. It will help managers understand why employees stay so that those important factors can be reinforced. These interviews can also show signals of frustration that can be nipped in the bud before they drive the employee to start looking for another position.

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