How Stay Interviews Can Help You Retain Top Employees

by Srikant Chellappa Jul 13,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Financially and in terms of saving time, employee retention is any day easier than recruiting. If you are a manager in a financial service, you will know what we are talking about. To impact employee attrition and lower employee turnover, managers need to measure employee satisfaction and engagement on a frequent basis. And a great technique for this is the Stay Interview.

While the exit interview asks employees why they are leaving, stay interview asks them why they remain with you. There are multiple benefits of conducting them.

Richard Finnegan, author of the book, The Stay Interview says,

“Hard data proves the top reason employees quit is they don’t trust their managers. Stay Interviews are the absolute best trust-building activity… and therefore the best retention tool.”

The basic themes of employee turnover projects mostly include teamwork, benefits, and organizational purpose. But that does not work all the time. Every employee is unique. As a manager you need to know that each employee has goals, anticipations and anxieties, potencies and limitations. And it will do you good to know and harness the power of this knowledge.

It is up to the managers how they wish to grow in relationship with employees. Stay interviews can help you enhance employee engagement, employee motivation and retention. So let’s dive into more details about

Also read: The Downsides Of 360 Degree Feedback And How To Fix It

Conducting Stay Interviews:

HR manager for Geocent, a Louisiana based technology company, Susan Seip says,

“It’s a relationship review. What’s your relationship to the company, the project team, and your manager, and what is within your purview to make those better?”

So, it’s important to know how you can conduct stay interviews well. They are conducted one-on-one, wherein you ask deep questions and your employees share valuable and meaningful answers. When a company takes time out to conduct these one-on-one stay interviews, employees feel that the higher management is open to feedback and cares about employee concerns.

Start off the interview by letting your employees know that their feedback is valued, and you hope to get honest answers from them. If you are looking to ask the right stay interview questions, here are some questions you might want to consider.

Questions to ask in a stay interview

  • Can you walk us through a recent good day at work?
  • What keeps you working here?
  • How would you rate your happiness here on a scale of 1 to 10? What would it take to get you to a 10?
  • What do you enjoy about your job and what you don’t?
  • What can drive you to leave the company?
  • What would you like to change about your job, team or department?
  • What changes do you wish to see in the company culture?
  • What motivates you at work and what demotivates you?
  • How would you like to get recognized for your work?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

Also read: Want To Know Why Your Employees Leave? Here’s Why

Don’t forget to close the interview with a prime question, “Is there anything else you wish to talk about?” When you are training to conduct stay interviews, you might come up with more specific questions to ask your employees. The main motive is to recognize problems way before they become deal-breakers that can lead your employees to leave the organization. There are chances you might feel defensive when there is criticism from the opposite side, but it’s better not to react and instead, try and see things from the employees’ perspective.

What can you expect in stay interviews?

All managers worry about receiving questions from employees, asking for raises that are beyond the budget. If your employee does ask about a raise, or a promotion, or something beyond your control, answer truthfully. If an employee asks you for a role they are not yet equipped to handle, guide them through employee training prospects that can be arranged during the next budget cycle. Tell them that you wish to find issues that are under your control, so that you can provide them with whatever they need. You might not be able to give all, 3 out of 5 things you will be able to.

Whether you use stay interviews or something else, the most important intention here is getting managers to talk to employees in a way that leads to improved employee engagement and retention.

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. 

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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