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Employee EngagementSeptember 8, 2022

What is a stay interview – and what questions should you ask?

Stay interview

Stay interviews can be an effective tool for improving employee retention. They provide valuable insights into what areas need improvement, and what your employees value most. But how do you conduct them, and what should you ask?

In recent years, there has been a growing trend in organizations of all sizes to focus on employee retention. After all, it costs far less to retain good employees than it does to recruit and train new ones. One tool that HR professionals are using to help with retention is the stay interview.

A stay interview is a conversation between an employer and an employee that is designed to identify the factors that keep the employee engaged and motivated. By understanding what keeps employees happy, companies can take steps to ensure that more employees stay with the organization for the long term. While stay interviews are still relatively new, they have already gained a lot of traction in the HR world. And as more and more companies focus on retaining their best talent, stay interviews are likely to become even more popular.

What is a stay interview?

A stay interview is a face-to-face meeting between an employer and employee in order to discuss the latter's current satisfaction with their job, what could be done to improve their work experience, and whether they plan on remaining with the company for the foreseeable future. Stay interviews are typically used by businesses as a way to improve employee retention rates, as they provide an opportunity for managers to proactively address any issues that may be causing dissatisfaction before it reaches the point where the employee decides to leave. In addition, stay interviews can also help to identify areas of potential improvement within the company itself, such as ineffective policies or procedures. Ultimately, stay interviews are a valuable tool for both employers and employees, as they help to create a more positive and productive work environment.

The stay interview is typically conducted on a one-on-one basis, and it gives employees the opportunity to provide honest feedback about their job satisfaction and motivation levels. Stay interviews can be an important tool for retaining top talent, as they help to identify areas where employees are feeling disengaged or unfulfilled. Additionally, stay interviews can help to create a dialogue between managers and employees about how to improve the work environment. By taking the time to conduct stay interviews on a regular basis, organizations can ensure that their employees are happy and engaged in their work.

What questions should you ask in a stay interview?

When you conduct a stay interview, there are a few questions that you should always ask in order to get the most helpful feedback. First, ask your employees what they enjoy about their job. This will help you to identify the aspects of their work that are most satisfying and motivating. Next, ask them what they feel could be improved. This will help you to identify areas where your employees are feeling disengaged or unhappy. Finally, ask them what they would like to see change in the future. This will help you to identify areas where your employees feel there is room for improvement. By asking these questions, you can get a better sense of what your employees value and how you can improve their experience at work.

Here are some examples of questions to ask:

  • What do you like about your job?

  • What do you dislike about your job?

  • What motivates you to do your best work?

  • What challenges do you face in your job?

  • How do you feel about your current workload?

  • What opportunities would you like to have for growth and development?

  • What can we do to make your job more satisfying?

  • What would make you want to leave this company?

Asking questions like these will help you get a better understanding of how your employees feel about their jobs and what you can do to keep them happy and engaged. By ensuring that your employees are satisfied with their work, you can help reduce turnover and create a more positive work environment.

How often should you conduct stay interviews?

When done well, stay interviews can show employees that you care about their satisfaction and are invested in their growth. For these reasons, it is generally recommended to perform stay interviews at least once per year with each member of your team. However, the frequency may need to be increased if there are high levels of turnover in your organization or if you have recently made changes that could impact employee satisfaction.

What is the difference between a stay interview and an exit interview?

Unlike a traditional exit interview, which is conducted after an employee has already decided to leave, a stay interview is designed to prevent turnover by identifying the factors that are causing dissatisfaction. To conduct a stay interview, schedule a meeting with the employee and begin by asking why they stay with the organization. Listen carefully to their answers and probe for any underlying concerns. Once you have identified the key drivers of satisfaction, take action to address any areas of concern. For example, if the employee expresses dissatisfaction with their workload, you may need to adjust their responsibility level or increase staffing levels in their department. By taking proactive steps to address employee concerns, you can help prevent turnover and keep your team happy and engaged.

Stay interviews and employee engagement surveys

In a world where many organizations struggle to reduce employee turnover, stay interviews are an important tool to increase retention. Another important tool to understand and stay updated on how your employees feel is employee engagement surveys. 

By sending out regular pulse surveys, you get real-time insights into the level of engagement in your organization, and you can immediately spot risk areas that need extra attention. Intuitive heatmaps, based on the employee survey results, help you understand and visualize the state of your organization, and real-time reports and trend curves show you if you're moving in the right direction. This allows you to take proactive measures, in order to increase your retention. 

Related reading: 5 benefits of employee puls surveys

With Eletive, you can automate digital “stay surveys”, to gain this type of insight at scale. Our advanced Listening AI feature then allows you to quickly get a sense of what matters most to your employees, and what action you can take to have the most positive and significant impact on retention and employee wellbeing.

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