Stay Interviews – Why?


As leaders in our industry, we have an unparalleled opportunity to help our clients improve the impact of employee acquisition and retention.  Stay Interviews provides leaders with data on the most optimum retention goals based on the individual employee’s needs.  As leaders, we are held accountable for revenues, business metrics, and profits; but with the unemployment rate at an all-time low, why not include employee retention as part of our score cards?  A main tool to accomplish this is through implementing “Stay Interviews”.

Definition of Stay Interviews:  A stay Interview is a structured informal discussion performed by an employer to learn specific actions one must take to strengthen the employees’ engagement and retention in an organization.  It could be performed by a supervisor or peer.

Stay interviews are a great way to show that you care and value their commitment to the firm; let them feel the love.  I know this is counter intuitive to how you typically think or how your bosses might have treated you early on in your career.

Today, people are all wired differently, and we must communicate at their level.  So, let them know that you are fortunate to have them; ask them why they continue to stay, and more importantly- as their employer- ask for feedback as to how you can improve their work experience?

Stay interview questions:

 These are just a few examples and can be tailored to your firm and industry.

  1. What do you love to do in your position? Are you doing it here?
  2. What are you really good at?
  3. What do you dislike about your position?
  4. What makes you want to come to work every day?
  5. If you changed your role completely, what would you miss the most?
  6. If you were chosen to be King/Queen for the day, what would be the one thing you would change about your position, role and responsibilities?
  7. What is your purpose?
  8. Is your purpose also your passion?
  9. What motivates you and gets you charged up?
  10. How do you like to be recognized or rewarded?
  11. Which of your talents are not being used?
  12. What would you like to learn?
  13. What can I do to help you achieve your success?
  14. What do you think about on your way into the office?
  15. What would tempt you to leave?
  16. How likely would you recommend our firm to a friend?

This is not a performance review, but rather it is focused on engagement and improvement that will hopefully increase the employees’ level of commitment.

Types & Frequency of Interviews:

1.Some firms conduct stay interviews quarterly with everyone in the firm. This could be performed by HR Managers or Team Managers, or one step up from each employee.

2.Some call these interviews, “Stand Out Interviews” performed quarterly. How you feel about the company making an impact.  These are typically done face to face, video or phone-definitely a contact discussion.  Not documented, but a conversation.

3.Some firms perform weekly “Check in Calls” or “Stand Out Calls”.  These are done electronically through an HR system.  They cover:

  • What do you love about your position?
  • What do you dislike?
  • What are your priorities this week?
  • What projects are you working on?


4.Some firms conduct “Skip Interviews” which are performed one level above your boss or your boss’s boss. These are typically done quarterly.

All these fancy interview names boil down to finding out the top reasons’ employees stay with their employer; to ensure that there is a continuous dialogue, and that workers have a voice within the company which enhances their work/life balance thus improving retention.  All this information can be shared through blogs, intranets, newsletters, crowd sharing etc.

My suggestion is to perform a bimonthly call with employees (face to face, video, or phone call) and combine it with a quarterly “Skip Interview”.  These “Skip Interviews” keep everyone on their toes.  It works very well in a trusting and closely connected organization.  Knowledge is power!

Institute this process now before the economy goes south again.  Anticipate, learn and solve business concerns collaboratively.  It is too late when you say “If I had only known”!

Now, what additional questions(s) and frequencies of “Stay Interviews” would you like to include?