Your People Experts

Stay Interviews

As the challenge to find talent becomes more difficult, it is critical that employers focus on retaining their existing workforce. One of the latest tools utilized to help employers determine why people remain with the organization is the Stay Interview. These interviews help managers identify the keys to retain high performing personnel and alert them to policies, processes or practices that may cause that same employee to leave the organization.

While the concept of Stay Interviews may be new to some, according to a recent survey of approximately 100 HR executives conducted by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., just over 27% currently conduct Stay Interviews and another 24.2% plan to begin utilizing them.


Ideally, managers should regularly interview their high performing employees and expand those interviews to other departmental employees as time permits.


As with a new hire interview, the Stay Interview should be scheduled and the manager should have a list of questions geared to providing the organization with the main reasons key employee remains with the company as well as identifying issues that may cause them to leave.

Training managers on how to conduct the interview and analyze the results is crucial to the success of the program. While it may not be too different from conducting a new hire interview, the information we’re trying to obtain and analyze is different and may require the manager to adjust their thought processes on what’s important to hear and notate.

Generally, the Stay Interview should only take between 15-20 minutes, depending on how many questions are asked.


Explain to the employee why the interview is being conducted and what the company hopes to learn from it in order to create an organization where people will want to come to work each day.

Many of the questions that can be asked are similar to those used in employee engagement surveys. Here are some suggested interview questions:

  • What makes for a great day at work?
  • What would make your job more satisfying?
  • Are there any areas where communication needs improvement?
  • What additional feedback or recognition can we provide to you that you are not already receiving?
  • If you could change one thing about your job, team, or department, what would it be?
  • What’s bothering you most about your job?
  • What talents do you have that are not being used in your current role?
  • Have you ever thought about leaving? What made you consider it, and what made you stay?
  • What do you like most about working here?
  • What do you like least about working here?
  • What can I do to better support you?
  • What can I do more or less of as your manager?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to bring up?


Once the interview is finished, summarize the key reasons that you understand to be why they have stayed with the organization and the reasons why they would consider leaving. Ask the employee’s input on developing a plan that would make them more satisfied at work. The plan should be in writing with a copy given to the employee and should include:

  • Actions the manager will take
  • Actions the employee will take
  • Dates for each action

It’s imperative that the manager work with the employee to take some action or it can damage the employee’s trust not only in the manager but in the entire organization. An employee’s satisfaction and allegiance to the employer can dramatically be affected if the employee believes that the time spent in the interview was for nothing.


After all of the interviews have been completed, the manager should be able to identify common reasons why people stay with the organization and common reasons that would cause someone to leave. The analyses from the various departments will allow the organization as a whole to create programs and policies that will contribute to employees’ overall happiness with the organization. The ideas generated from these interviews may include:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Career development programs
  • Suggestions for better work processes
  • More effective communications
  • More recognition or rewards for employee efforts

The ultimate goal in conducting Stay Interviews is to reduce turnover. According to Gallup, turnover costs have been estimated at ½ to five times a person’s annual salary depending upon the position. However a more accurate way of calculating YOUR turnover costs is as follows:

Turnover Costs = (Cost Per Hire + Lost Productivity) x Number of Lost Employees

In addition to helping retain employees, the information gathered about why people stay with the organization can be used in the company’s recruiting efforts.

Stay Interviews, when utilized properly, can reduce turnover and help attract new talent to your organization.

EAF has associates that can help employers create and conduct Stay Interviews. For more information, please call or email us at 407.260.6556 [email protected]

EAF responds to hundreds of hotline calls and emails monthly. We would be happy to answer any interesting questions you may have too! Contacts us at [email protected] or 407.260.6556

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Employers Association Forum, Inc.
640 E State Road 434, Suite 3100
Longwood, FL 32750

Phone 407.260.6556 Fax 407.260.2876
Email [email protected]


EAF provides information about current developments in labor and employment law. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Questions requiring legal advice should be addressed to the attorney of your choice. EAF members may be able to obtain a legal interpretation through our FREE Legal Hotline.