5 Facts You Should Know About Stay Interviews

A stay interview is an underutilized tool that most companies need to retain their top talents. So, what is a stay interview? How does it work? And how does it benefit your company? Keep reading to learn more.

The Meetingnotes Team
February 27, 2024

It's no secret that companies fight to get high-performing employees into the market. At the same time, it's surprising that organizations lose valuable employees due to reasons they can avoid. This emphasizes the need for a stay interview.

A stay interview is an underutilized tool that most companies need to retain their top talents. So, what is a stay interview? How does it work? And how does it benefit your company? Keep reading to learn more.

In this article, we’ll be covering the process for conducting a stay interview, allowing your team members to get the maximum benefit from this often overlooked process.

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What is a Stay Interview?

A stay interview is an interview between a manager and an employee meant to learn what motivates the employee to continue working in the company and what areas need improvement. It works as a reverse for exit interviews, especially when an organization risks losing its best employees.

Stay interviews are aimed at current employees rather than those that have decided to leave your organization. As a manager, you can use the results of the stay interview to improve your employee retention capacity. You can also identify issues that would help enhance vital departments in your organization.

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How a Stay Interview Works

A stay interview is a two-way conversation and a chance to ask questions and keep track of ideas. It should also help deal with your employees' happiness and concerns. You can also use it as a performance review, build trust, and improve your company culture.

You need to approach your stay interview carefully to achieve all these goals. Therefore, you should ask the right questions, commit to making positive changes and work towards implementing these changes.

Please note a stay interview can be ineffective if your company has poor employee engagement and lacks trust and open communication. If you're unsure about this, check on your staff turnover, total sales, and profitability to determine whether your organization is best suited to holding stay interviews.  

The best way to handle a stay interview with a company not suited for this process is through an anonymous survey. This will help you gather information about your employees without knowing about their identity. You can then build a trustworthy and open environment by gradually implementing the ideas you've collected and possibly making it safe to hold one-on-one communication in the future.

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When Should You Conduct a Stay Interview?

Knowing when to hold your stay interview is ideal for its success. Contrary to popular opinion that these interviews work best before an employee leaves an organization, there are different times that you can hold a stay interview, including:

  • When a new employee is settling into their job, particularly the first few months. New hires are vulnerable to employee turnovers, and a stay interview poses an excellent opportunity to understand possible issues before the employee decides to quit. You can hold a stay interview at least three times in the first year of employment.
  • Annually with seasoned employees. This will help you determine new issues, motivations, and trends that you have to address before they start affecting your employee morale.
  • Anytime employees seem disengaged for a prolonged period.

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What Questions Should You Ask in a Stay Interview?

There are no clear-cut rules on how you should conduct a stay interview. However, there are specific factors you must consider to conduct your interview effectively. Here are a few effective meeting agendas you should consider in your stay interview:

Start with a Small Sample Size

If it's your first time conducting a stay interview, you don't have to conduct interviews with every employee. It would help to focus on high-performing, high-potential, and long-term employees.

Know Who Will Handle the Interview

It makes sense for managers to conduct stay interviews since they have stronger, more trusting working relationships with their employees than the human resource team. However, it's essential to take a short training session on how to handle the stay interview if you're not familiar with it.

Ensure that Your Questions Are Related to the Employees Working Position

Your questions should explore all aspects of the job, career, and role that would drive the employee to stay. Therefore, you must frame the questions around positive talking points that would bring a sense of understanding of what would make the employee remain in your organization.


Ask Questions That Explore Opportunities for Improving Your Employee's Job

At times, a stay interview can be dominated by a theme on staying. At this point, you need to ask questions that guarantee psychological safety. This is a situation where the employee feels that they are in a position to speak up, ask questions without fear, and offer ideas without the fear of being reprimanded.

Schedule Enough Time

Schedule at least thirty minutes to an hour for your stay interview. This time is enough to ask enough questions to help you capture relevant information from your employees.

Structure The Interview

You need to create an HR exit interview template that would help different interviewers ask the same questions to every employee to guarantee consistency with the answers you collect.

Gather Your Answers

Eventually, you'll have to gather all the information collected during the stay interview for analysis. It's much easier to store these answers at a central location where it's easier for every manager to access them.

Summarize The Answers

It would help to summarize your employees' recurring answers after the interview. This will avoid any misunderstanding.

Identify Patterns and Trends from the Interviews

Conducting numerous stay interviews with your team members detects recurring reasons your employees want to stay or leave. These issues are crucial since they will help you find ways to strengthen positive aspects and reduce the effects of negative factors.

Take Action

Like any other purpose of a meeting, the goal of your stay interviews is finding ways to improve your employees' happiness and increase their commitment to your organization. Therefore, you need to take their feedback seriously and act on issues that require immediate attention while you find ways to implement long-term changes. This will significantly improve your employee's morale, especially when they realize that their opinions are valued.

15 Examples of Stay Interview Questions

Now you might be wondering what the stay interview questions look like. Here are 15 examples of stay interview questions, including a brief explanation of why it's helpful to ask them. These questions are divided into five categories depending on their aim for the company. These categories are as follows:

  • Questions related to the employee
  • The job
  • The organization's culture
  • The organization's work environment
  • The organization's technology

Please note you can mix and match these questions according to your needs. You should also note that some of these questions might not be relevant to your organization. These questions are as follows:

Questions Aimed at the Employee

1. What motivates you to work every day?

You should expect a wide range of answers. For some, their motivation is working with their colleagues, while others are motivated by their handling projects.

Regardless of your answers, you should notice trends associated with their motivation. You should also work towards what motivates them to work for your company and build your brand around this.

2. What do you fear about every day you come to work?

The same goes with the previous question, but with a different expectation. Again, you should spot a trend and take the necessary action.

3. When did you last think of leaving the company?

You need to identify why top performers in your company would think to leave your company, especially if they thought about this recently. This will help you capture any issues that may affect them and deal with them immediately.

4. What made you think of leaving our company?

This question helps you get employee-specific information. For some, they might think about leaving your organization since they don't find it challenging anymore. Others might think of leaving your organization since they don't earn enough or feel undervalued.

This will help you identify triggers that make your employees leave your organization and create employee satisfaction in their job.

Questions Related to their Job

1. What's Your Best Part About Your Job?

Employees love the different features of their job. Therefore, you should expect different answers from your interviewees. You can use their feedback to give the employees what would improve their performance.

2. Which Talents Do You Feel Are Underutilized?

The answer to this question will help you know your employee's next career move.

3. What do you think would make your job more satisfying?

Feedback from this question could always help you improve your company's culture. It also enables you to know where to start, especially if you have been getting the same answers repeatedly.

4. As your manager, what can I do to improve your work?

As a manager, you have a significant impact on improving your employees' working experience. Therefore, the feedback that you get from this question is ideal for optimizing your employees' experience. Again, you need to create psychological safety if you want honest feedback for this question.

Questions About Your Company's Culture

1. Do you feel recognized or valued in our organization?

If you can make your employees feel recognized and valued, you will positively impact your productivity and engagement.

2. How would you like our company to recognize your work?

Feedback from this question would help you improve your workers' recognition program, even if it seems to be working now.  

3. What do you feel that we should do to improve your working experience?

Recurring feedback from this question would help you improve your workplace and make it a better place to work in.

Questions about the Organization's Work Environment

1. What do you think we should change about our offices?

This is a suitable question that fits your organization's return to work after the covid-19 pandemic. It will also help work on doing away or improving traditional beliefs

2. Are you satisfied with our work from home policy?

If your company utilizes a work from home policy, it's crucial to understand what your employees think about it (whether to continue, improve, or terminate it.

Questions About Your Organization's Technology

1. How Satisfied are you with our communication tools?

If your company is still adjusting to the "new normal," this would be the best question to determine your employees' satisfaction with your current communication tools. It will help you adopt the right communication tools.

2. What software should we adopt right away?

 Your organization probably requires software that can help improve your services. This works best with organizations that take too long to adopt new software and do away with those not used regularly.

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How Effective are Stay Interviews?

Stay interviews can work better than determining your employee satisfaction. They offer an in-depth understanding of your organization and help you take actions that benefit it. In the long run, stay interviews would help you in the following ways:

Build Employees' Trust and Loyalty

Once your employees know that you care about them to seek and implement their ideas, you can promote trust and loyalty among yourselves. Employees would rarely leave an organization that they like working in.

Promotes Teamwork and Togetherness

One of the most significant differences between a stay and an exit interview is that it focuses on sharing ideas between work colleagues who want to achieve the same thing - an incredible experience for the company. This is different from an exit interview that mainly focuses on an organization's negative aspects without acknowledging positive aspects.

Addresses Problems Early

A stay interview can help you capture issues before they get too large. Companies can change policies, practices, and other related issues that aren't helping your company.

Retains Valuable Employees

Apart from lowering employee turnover, a stay interview offers a chance to gather information to help retain key team members in your organization. Remember, valuable employees, want to feel engaged and happy about your company.

Assesses Your Company's Culture

A company's culture is crucial for its growth. A stay interview grants an opportunity to gauge your company's culture through your employees' experiences. From this point, you can create an inclusive and dynamic culture to improve your overall performance.

Key Takeaways

Many organizations are at risk of losing their top talents seeking better working environments. Of course, this can significantly impact the growth of a company. A stay interview works as a suitable tool to gauge your employees and take action to keep them grounded in your company.

The success of a good stay interview depends on the questions that you choose how you gather information and implement them. Partnering with a service that offers stay interview templates can be suitable for the success of your interview. This guarantees a quick and detailed way to complete this process.

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