Stay Interviews: Best Practices to Retain the Top Employees

by Srikant Chellappa Apr 17,2020

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

In your organisation, like in most others, it’s the key employees that keep the ball rolling. If one of those employees come up one day and tell you, they have decided to quit and move, it is a hard blow to take. Because we all know, while you will be able to hire someone else in their place, how soon will the new hire be able to deliver with that expertise? Not so easily, and sometimes… never.

So, before your precious employees start leaving the organisation, why not build up a smart strategy to retain them? Stay interviews can do that for you. It helps gather critical insights from and for employees who are not leaving the company (or has not shown any inclination to do so, yet).

Some important benefits include:

  1. Instilling a sense of trust between an employee and their manager, which enhances work satisfaction, employee engagement and retention
  2. Learning about a company’s strong and weak points through the eyes of the employees, so that changes can be made wherever required
  3. Gauging whether an employee is planning to leave, in which case, the company can work towards retaining them

Also read: Implementing Stay Interviews In Your Organisation

Now that you know how Stay interviews can help you handle employees better; it is imperative to keep certain things in mind when you are conducting them.


Ideally, managers should interview every employee, but if you have a large team to handle, time is of the essence. So, line up your top performers first, followed by those that need immediate attention. Then the rest can follow afterward. But Engagedly’s expert panel suggests that you make time for all your employees, even if it takes some time and commitment. It saves the company a lot of time and recourses when it comes to hiring and training.

Keep it informal:

It is advisable to schedule the stay interviews well in advance, keeping all the parties informed. But that does not mean they are formal like the exit interview or the performance reviews. Its best if the conversations are spontaneous. The main idea is to make your employees feel comfortable enough to open up, so that they can speak what’s in their mind. So, it’s important to build a sense of trust before the interview and through it.

Questions are important:

Forming the right questions is very important for stay interviews to have the right effect. Ask very clear, probing questions which fetches valuable answers without putting the employees in an uncomfortable spot. That’s where you need to be very tactful. Not all employees are comfortable opening up so easily. So as their manager, you need to understand when you should not push any further and try approaching the topic from a different angle.

Also read: Why Are Stay Interviews Essential For Your Organisation

Document the interviews:

A lot of insights are revealed through these stay interviews. Make sure you document all the important information, so that you can collate all the data later on for further discussions with the HR and your superiors.

Dr. John Sullivan, an HR thought leader and former chief talent officer for Agilent Technologies says,

Most employees are excited simply by the fact that the organization is concerned about their future and that their manager took the time to consult with them.

Stay interviews can really change the way employees look at their employers. So, if you are planning on incorporating them in your organisation, make sure you follow the above-mentioned guidelines. Do comment below if you have more points to share with us.

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. 

Get In Touch With Us

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.

Privacy Preference Center