stay interview for employers

How to Get the Most Out of a Stay Interview

Stay interview is an important part of any employee engagement program. It gives you a chance to understand your employees’ needs, what’s keeping them happy and engaged, and what might cause them to leave. It signals you to make necessary changes before someone decides to leave your company.

In this post, we’re going to cover all of the necessary aspects of the perfect stay interview, as well as some tips to help you get the most out of it!

What is a stay interview?

a definition of a stay interview

A stay interview is a discussion with your employee to uncover what keeps them at your business and what might make them consider leaving. It’s a great tool to reduce turnover rates and solve retention problems. Stay interviews are often held with long-term employees because they have deeper insights about your company.

Stay interviews give employers and employees opportunities to discuss workplace issues and get feedback from both sides. The information from the stay interview will urge you to make necessary changes and keep top talents with your business.

A stay interview can be mistaken for an exit interview. Exit interviews are conducted when employees show signs of wanting to leave, to convince them to stay. Because staff have already been on the verge of resignation, these interviews are much more challenging to carry out.

Why is stay interview important?

A great opportunity for leaders to improve

Stay interview is a valuable opportunity for employees to frankly discuss different aspects of your company. Employees may be able to see what leaders can’t see, thus their information can help managers discover what they need to work on and improve.

Enhance interaction, reduce turnover 

a stay interview for reducing turnover rate

There might be various workplace issues that cause employees to look for another job. Whether it’s a conflict between employees or some dissatisfaction with the way you manage, a stay interview is an effective way to find out the core problem.

Because a stay interview is a two-way dialogue, it encourages interaction and communication between you and your staff. When staff’s opinions are heard properly, they’re more likely to stay.

Tips for a stay interview

1. Make a smooth start

The beginning of the stay interview should go by expressing gratitude and appreciation towards the employee for working and contributing to the success of the company. Show a friendly and willing-to-listen attitude. Make employees feel comfortable like this is a one-on-one sharing session, rather than a formal performance review.

2. Think carefully about your questions

Make sure you prepare positive and constructive questions for the stay interview. Don’t get too personal when asking questions regarding your employees’ likings or private lives.

You should start the interview with icebreaker questions. Once the initial tension loosens, you can continue with deeper questions.

A stay interview can be conducted within 30 minutes to 1 hour. You should note down important points from your employees’ answers. But the conversation should be the main focus. It’s not a teaching session where you listen to lectures and take notes.

Over time, you can build your own list of stay interview questions that yield the most useful information from employees’ answers.

3. Learn why they like the job

a stay interview helps employees to express their interests

By asking employees what they like about the job, you can partly know the reason why they stay. You’ll be surprised by their answers, which may or may not correspond with your predictions.

Through this question, your staff may reveal the type of tasks that they want to be involved in. You can assign tasks that match their potential and interest in the future for the best results.

4. Learn about the negative aspects

Of course, a stay interview can’t go without asking about factors that make your employees unhappy. Are there any people that cause them frustration at work, or any aspects that bring negativity to the table? Learn why your staff might want to switch jobs, and quickly make adjustments before someone decides to leave.

5. Learn About Their Expectations

Besides talking about your company, you should also listen to employees’ expectations. Do they expect certain resources or changes from your company?

The answers can come differently, depending on each employee’s personality, experience, desire, etc. But they give you an overall view of what you can do to enhance your employee’s working experience.

For example, if many employees respond that they expect working flexible hours and your business allows it, you can make the change. Or if they talk about rewards or promotion opportunities they hope to get, it’s something to take into consideration as well.


Stay interview is one of the best ways to win your employees’ hearts and keep them engaged. Not just that, it allows you to identify problems you can’t recognize, get to the root of them, and make changes before employees start to leave.

Don’t know what to ask in a stay interview? Check out our list of stay interview questions.

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