Use stay interviews to keep good employees

September 13, 2017

Conduct stay interviews as a way to retain your star performers. Stay interviews help you gauge their desire to continue contributing to the organization and uncover areas where you can improve.

Jobs are in abundance; employment rates are the lowest in years; people are looking for a place where they can fit in, earn a better wage and have some say in how they work.

Gone are the days when all team members are treated alike. We believed treating people alike was a component of treating people fairly, when in fact we were alienating those who did not fit with what we believed was a correct way to be treated.

Today, the vast majority of workers want to have some input and say in how their work is done. They want to be asked what they can provide to make their workplace the workplace of choice.

The tone of the workplace starts well before the new hire walks through the front door. If you are a good place of employment, you will know by the quality of people who apply. You will also know by the quality and growth of the people who stay.

If you wish to not lose your star performers, you better start asking them what it will take to have them succeed and stay. A stay interview is a way to learn why high-performing employees stay with your organization—so that you can continue building upon these areas.

Benefits to conducting a stay interview

Many employees appreciate that their company values their contributions enough to meet with them and understand their values. While you may identify factors that can be improved, the focus should truly be on reinforcing the positive aspects of the organization and their role.

When to perform a stay interview

Consider holding a stay interview annually with key employees that would be difficult to replace. Identify your highest-performing employees, and especially those you may determine are at risk for leaving.

Important questions to ask during a stay interview

Below are some questions you may want to consider. Some may surprise you, and some will make perfect sense. You will also notice that they come in different times in an employment cycle.

  • We place a lot of effort in hiring a great group of people, and we are expecting great things from you. How do you like to be recognized? How would that make you feel?
  • How do we keep you excited about being a part of our team?
  • What do you need from within yourself to be a person everyone looks up to?
  • Knowing your goals, we want to know what you will need from us to continue down the path to success.
  • What is your desired career path within our organization?
  • What should we expect from you in order for you to achieve your career goals?
  • What will you need from us in order for you to achieve your career goals?

Gauge what employees value during a stay interview

It is not as difficult as it sounds to keep quality people. Provide people with the basics. Now, these basics may fluctuate a little based on the individual, but do these sound familiar:

  • Fair wage—let’s admit it, people do want to be paid
  • Treated fairly
  • Challenged
  • Opportunities to grow as a professional
  • A work-life integration—for many, this is flexibility in their schedule and/or an ability to periodically just leave the duties at the job

If you are hiring the right people, the interview offers you, as a leader, a chance to have a critical conversation that will give you the insight into keeping those who truly assist your company in standing out from the others.

If you have questions regarding stay interviews, team member engagement, or how to have the conversation with the not-so-stellar team member, Schenck’s HR Consulting team can assist. Contact any member of the HR Consulting team at 800-236-2446 or