What Is A Stay Interview And Why Should Your Organization Make Use Of Them
A stay interview is an interview conducted between a manager and employee to get an idea of whats keeping the employee at the organization, where improvements can be made, and what may cause them to leave for pastures new.
The stay interview should be a human resources tool that you always have ready at your disposal. They should be part of your company culture and can be great drivers of employee engagement.
Making use of stay interviews can do wonders for employee retention. By addressing any issues early on, and taking action on them, you can help ensure current employees are on the path they wish to be on.
Stay interviews are also great trust builders.
As the stay interview can get pretty deep into the information that youre looking to collect, it can be a great way to build trust between the one being interviewed and the one conducting the interview. It can go a long way in showing them that they are a valued employee.
Tip: The individual conducting the stay interview should be the direct manager of the current employee in question.
Remember, more often than not, current employees do not leave jobs they leave managers. Employees need to be able to trust their manager. If conducted correctly, stay interviews can be one of the best possible ways of building that trust.
Stay Interview Questions About The Work Environment
17. What do you feel we should definitely change about or add to our offices?
As we are slowly moving out of a pandemic, traditional beliefs about the role of the office in our work environment are dramatically changing.Ask your employee how they feel about this.
18. Are you satisfied with our current work from home policy? If not, what do you think we need to change?
Along the same lines, ask people what they think about your work from home policy in a pandemic world.
When In Doubt Return To Basics
The stay interview isnt a new concept, but a trusted tool based in direct, two-way communication. If leaders want to know what their employees are thinking or feeling before they make the choice to leave, they have to ask. Stay interviews dont have to be intimidating for anyone involved. At their core, theyre conversations where one party opens a door for the other to share their perspective. The basics of a compassionate, human-centric approach to work are a great place to start.
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Stay Interview Questions About The Employee
1. What do you look forward to most when you come to work every day?
Answers here can vary widely. For some, their favorite part may be to work alongside their colleagues, while for others, it will be all about the projects they are working on.
Over time, however, as you gather more data, you might be able to detect some trends here.
If, for instance, you find that for most employees, it really is your company culture they like best, you can leverage this in your employer branding efforts.
2. What do you dread about work every day?
The same thing goes for this question, but then the other way around. Once you spot a trend here, its probably time to take action.
3. When was the last time you thought about leaving the company?
A top performer who thought about leaving the company yesterday may need more immediate attention than someone who last thought about going elsewhere a year ago.
4. What situation made you think of leaving?
This question will provide you with employee-specific information. Some people may think of leaving because they dont find their job challenging anymore. Others will do so because they feel they dont earn enough or because they dont feel valued.
Knowing what triggers someone to think of leaving can help you create a more satisfying employee experience for them.
5. Would you recommend our company to job-seeking friends? Why ?
6. What would tempt you to leave the company?
Within The Past Year What Was A Day That Caused You Anxiety Or Frustrations
Answers to this question will help identify standout and serious problems for your team members. Then, ask if the employee can explain the source of their frustration within the situation. Once theyve explained the cause, ask them about the solution: Can you pinpoint what eventually occurred to help alleviate your stress? This series of questions will target what might make employees want to leave and what keeps them around.
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Stay Interview Questions About The Company Culture
14. Do you feel valued and recognized in the company?
Put simply, if your company is good at making people feel valued and giving them the recognition they deserve, this will have a positive impact on peoples engagement and productivity.
On the other hand, a lack of appreciation can push people to move elsewhereall the more reason to include this question in your list of stay interview questions.
15. How would you like to be recognized for the work you do?
Even if you have an awesome employee recognition program in place, there might be ways to make it even better or more personal.
16. What are we currently not doing as a company that you feel we should?
Recurring answers to this question will be very useful in making your company an even better place to workboth for your current and future employees.
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Its a great way to strengthen employee-manager relationships.
With workforces dispersed and most people working from behind screens rather than in the same building, maintaining workplace relationships is more important now than ever. Its easy to lose touch with employees when you arent physically seeing them every day, and in turn, employees can feel that their managers are out of touch.
Conducting stay interviews brings back contact between managers and employees. It shows employees that their managers are listening to their concerns and are hopefully acting on them. It opens up a new line of communication and allows for employees to speak up in an appropriate forum.
Its a way to connect with new hires and re-engage existing employees.
For new hires, a stay interview shows that youre invested in their development and growth with the company. For existing employees, it does the same but with the added bonus of re-engaging them, especially if check-ins havent happened frequently in the past. It can show them that youre committed to moving the business forward and providing a top notch employee experience.
How can you successfully conduct stay interviews?
Before you begin conducting interviews, especially if its the first time youre doing them, inform your employees. Tell them what a stay interview is and why youve chosen to do the interviews. Let employees know that their voices will be heard and their opinions matter.
Get the message out first.
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How Do You Conduct Stay Interviews
Have your managers start the meeting by explaining that they value the employee and want to learn what makes them stay at the company and how their work experience could be improved. They should point out that constructive criticism is welcome and that the overall feedback will be shared with management to implement changes, but it will stay anonymous.
Its helpful to ask insightful stay interview questions that cover:
- What they like about their role and responsibilities and what theyd want to change.
- How they feel about their working relationship with their manager and other colleagues and any additional support they need.
- What they like about the company culture and what could be improved.
- What their short and long-term professional goals are and any additional support and resources they need to reach them.
Its helpful to have honest conversations about these topics, since they tend to target the primary reasons people quit. Even if some of the answers are hard to hear, the feedback can be used to make proactive changes that will make it less likely top performers will hand in their two weeks notice.
Follow Up With Action
When employees open up and tell you about their experience working at your company, you must be ready to take action in response. The most direct path to failure is if the hard-earned feedback is left on the table, filed away, and forgotten about. Take this valuable information and make an action plan, then communicate it. This doesnt necessarily mean that the employee will get everything they are asking for. Still, by demonstrating that feedback is being heard, leaders support a culture of feedback, building trust, psychological safety, and greater retention.
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To Target Employee Populations That Are Historically Difficult To Recruit Or Retain
The value in using stay interviews to support these high-value employee segments is in identifying friction points before someone resigns. For instance, Holcom pointed out that dissatisfaction around career development opportunities, flexible schedules, or increased leadership support could be uncovered during the process, allowing time for the company to adjust and retain the employees in question.
It Is Important To Understand The Strategic Role That Stay Interviews Can Play In Retaining Top Talent And Bolstering Company Culture
For many businesses, interviews are conducted during the hiring process or when someone leaves the company. However, there are also benefits to interviewing employees at various points in between. Stay interviews are a great tool that more managers should use to gauge employee satisfaction, company culture, and shared thinking on how to improve and grow the organization. Managers who conduct stay interviews can retain top talent, engage their employees, and lower their employee attrition in ways that others cannot.
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How Do You Set Up A Stay Interview
Ask your managers to have these one-on-one meetings with their direct reports at least once a year. Managers with new employees may want to have these conversations at the three- and six-month mark to make sure they are happy in their role and at the company.
Ideally, everyone in your company will have a stay interview so you have a clearer picture of what could be improved. If its not possible to interview everyone, then select people across departments and seniority levels. Ask your managers to prioritize speaking with top performers to find out how to retain them and people who seem disengaged, since they are most likely to provide constructive feedback.
Your managers should send a calendar invite specifying that the meeting will be a stay interview, not a regular weekly or biweekly meeting. This will give your managers and their direct reports time to prepare so the meetings are more productive.
Stay Interviews Earn Employee Engagement And Trust
In any relationship, if one party isnt invested in the dynamic, the relationship will crumble. Employees are showing up for work regardless of their personal circumstances, and in the wake of an exceedingly trying 18 months, employees are burning out at an alarming rate. By carving out one-on-one time to ask how your employees are doing and what you can do to support them, you gain their trust, showing that you care about whats going on in the employees world.
Much of the impact of stay interviews is owed to their one-on-one nature. Most similar tools, like engagement surveys, are explicitly looking for trends among a whole employee population. Stay interviews send the message that an employees individual experience matters enough to invest time in. Theyre an opportunity to get personal with an employee, ask them what theyre excited about when they come to work, who they enjoy working with, and what they need to feel supported in their role. Where exit interviews tend to focus on problems, stay interviews can take a more positive tone and help companies learn from what is working.
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Why Stay Interviews Are Important
With Hawaiis current low unemployment rate, its never been more critical to solicit and pay close attention to employee feedback. Stay interviews allow employees to share both their concerns and appreciation for the way things happen in the company. It gives them a voice they otherwise might not have. And, surprise: most employees wont directly tell you their frustrations about their jobtheyll just look for a new one instead. In this competitive job market, your best employees will quickly be snatched up by other companies, desperate to hire and promising to meet their needs.
While some complaints and suggestions might be unrealistic other reasonable requests could be easily implemented. At ALTRES, for example, we have a robust wellness program that is the direct result of employee advocacy and has grown to be a cornerstone of our company culture.
Another recent employee-led change was the elimination of single-use plastics in our office lunchrooms. We feel good about addressing the concerns of our employees and they feel good about working for a company that listens to them. Its a win-win for everyone.
The Best Stay Interview Questions
The best stay interview questions help your most valuable employees understand:
- You recognize and appreciate their loyalty.
- You care about more than just their performance.
- Youre open to making changes that would bring them more satisfaction.
And they help you discover:
- Warning signs that indicate a key player needs more support or direction
- Ways to keep the employees in which youve invested the most time and resources
- Low-cost changes that could reaffirm your employees commitment and engagement
Replacing your leading employees can be time-consuming and costly. Stay interviews are a solid strategy to help you retain your businesss top performers.
Want more insight on building an effective HR strategy that helps retain employees for the long term? Download our free e-book, How to Develop a Top-notch Workforce That Will Accelerate Your Business.
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What Did You Love About Your Last Job That You No Longer Have
Answers to this question will likely account for your company culture, flexibility, office environment, as well as employee perks and benefits. Aggregate responses to establish a holistic representation of your shortcomings as a potential employer. You can then begin to address the most common qualms and make impactful improvements to your office.
What Did You Love About Your Last Position That You No Longer Have
Get down to the nitty-gritty of the employees role and responsibilities. What dont they enjoy about their current position? What do they wish they could carry over from their previous role? Answers to this question will help managers understand how they can improve the day-to-day experience of their direct reports.
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What Do You Think About On Your Way To Work
A response to this question will help illustrate the employees shift in mindset when theyre headed into the office. Ideally, if theyre happy at work and excited about their job, their thoughts will be positive. Or, they may not even think about work. A cause for concern is when the employee has negative thoughts or a sense of dread while headed to work.
Provides An Avenue To Air Your Views
Do you feel that certain aspects of the company culture should change? Then the stay interview is your best chance to let your employer know. This could be anything from a toxic work environment to unbecoming behavior from another employee. A stay interview allows you to provide objective feedback to improve your workplace.
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Stay Interview Question Examples
One of the primary reasons to conduct stay interviews is to increase employee retention. Employee retention is a huge opportunity to get right, illustrated by the fact that 25% of employees left their jobs in 2018.
Because employee retention is the goal, stay interview questions should emphasize to your employees how much you appreciate and value them and want to work with them to make them happier. You can also use stay interviews to try and recognize any signs that someone might be looking for opportunities elsewhere so you can find ways to increase employee engagement and job satisfaction overall at your company.
Some examples of stay interview questions include:
What do you look forward to every day at work?
What skills and passions do you have that our company is not utilizing?
If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be?
Ask The Right Questions
Asking the right questions during the stay interview may be the most important component of the process. The questions you ask should be beneficial to both your company as well as the employee and should be asked in a way that encourages employees to be open and honest. Your questions should also portray that you care about the employees opinion and that what they say will be taken seriously.
Three great questions to ask employees during a stay interview include:
What Is A Stay Interview And How Can It Improve Retention
Youve heard of exit interviews, but have you ever taken the time to sit down with your employees for a stay interview? Stay interviews are conversations designed to surface issues that directly impact employee retention.
The idea of asking employees what they like and dont like about their job is a pleasant surprise for many, says Director of Human Resources Michele Kauinui. Communicating regularly and having a pulse on staff morale is a huge advantage for retention.
By listening and acting on suggestions from the front lines, you can increase loyalty, improve company culture, and keep your top performers happy. In other words, retain your best people for as long as possible.
In this article, well explore the stay interview concept and give tips on how to get started using them at your company.