7 Successful Strategies to Conduct A Stay Interview

by Srikant Chellappa May 25,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

As per a recent study by Gallup on employee retention and attrition, they found out that:


U.S businesses are losing a trillion dollars yearly due to voluntary turnover.

The cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.

Every organization globally has one common problem, that is how to retain its best employees, and reduce voluntary turnover. Every year employees leave the organization for multiple reasons. It can be because of professional development, work-life balance, lack of support, bad management, or even due to changes in personal lives. 

Organizations conduct an exit interview to know why employees leave, but by then, it is too late to convince them to stay. Instead of waiting until the exit interview to know the issues, organizations should proactively conduct stay interviews. 

What are stay interviews? Stay Interviews are one-to-one interviews between managers and their reports to improve employee retention and engagement. They help the organization to understand what makes an employee stay and what makes them leave. In this article, we will discuss some important strategies to conduct a stay interview.

One-on-One Meetings

If you are looking only for information from your employees, then just surveys or interviewing people in groups should be fine. But if you are looking for some detailed insights on why your best employees are leaving, then a one-on-one interview is suggested. It will help employees to connect more easily with their managers. They will feel comfortable and answer more honestly. Employees will be more open to discussing what they like and what they don’t about the organization.

Also Read: A Beginners Guide to Effective One on One Meetings

Chalk out a Plan 

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail – Benjamin Franklin. 

When implementing stay interviews, chalk out a plan. A well thought out plan will ensure the success of the overall process. The plan should cover everything; deciding on the employees who will take part in the stay interview process, the timeline of the interviews, the action plan, etc. The goal of the process should also be made part of the plan. For HRs and managers, the goal of a stay interview should be to reduce employee turnover and improve retention.

Schedule the Stay Interview

As a manager or HR of the organization, schedule your stay interview way ahead of time. Decide on the frequency, duration, and timing of the stay interview. Daily to-dos might already be occupying the calendar, but scheduling a stay interview is very important as they will save time and cost concerning:

  • Losing out prime employees
  • Hiring of new employees
  • Training new employees
  • Engagement and exit surveys 

Identify the Employees

Identifying the key employees of your organization is essential as part of the stay interview process. These are the employees which the organization wants to retain, and losing them can potentially harm the organization. But managers and HRs should make sure that these are not the only employees taking part in the process. Include employees who have stayed a long time in the organization, high performers, individuals that enhance diversity, or those who are in high demand fields.

Also Read: Stay Interviews: Best Practices to Retain the Top Employees

Be Ready to Listen

As a Manager or HR of the organization, you should always be ready to listen. Don’t get defensive and have an open conversation with your employees so that they can speak freely. Promote an open culture and give opportunities for employees to connect with their managers and HRs. This will make them feel important and heard which in turn improves employee morale, engagement, and retention.

Also Read: Signs That Prove You Are a Micromanager!

Make a Questionnaire

The most important part of a stay interview is to ask the right questions. HRs or managers should refrain from asking yes-or-no questions or close-ended questions to employees in their stay interviews. 

Instead include questions such as: 

  1. What do you look forward to most at work? 
  2. What are you learning here and what else would you like to learn?

Completely avoid questions such as: 

  1. Are you happy working here?
  2. Do you make enough money?

Report and Feedback

After the stay interview process is over a detailed report should be prepared. A report will help the organization determine how likely the employees are to stay or leave. It helps the organization to understand where they are lacking from an employee’s perspective and work on them. It will help in reducing employee attrition and improve employee retention. 

Just like the preparation of a report, you must provide feedback to your employees. Let the employees know that their concerns are being worked on and not ignored. If something is not achievable, communicate the same to your employees.


Engagedly is offering a suite of products part of its Remote Work Toolkit free to any organisation, until Sept 30th, 2020. 

The Coronavirus has affected the way we work today and for months to come. Unprecedented events require unprecedented measures. We at Engagedly believe it is our responsibility as socially conscious corporate citizens to help equip organisations with additional tools and resources during this time of crisis.

Get in touch with us to know more about the free remote working tool-kit. 

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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