Using a Stay Interview To Engage and Retain Employees

In the past, you would have to wait until an exit interview to learn why someone chose to leave your company. Today, you do not have the luxury of losing competent talent when there are few replacements waiting on the sidelines.  Hence, the idea of the stay interview has come into practice as a proactive strategy for retaining good to great talent.

The stay interview is really a series of regularly scheduled meetings between managers and their direct reports, not just one meeting. Once a quarter is a good interval for these types of conversations based on my experience. Unlike performance reviews, the employee sets the agenda for the stay interview. Topics that are usually covered include:

  1. What about your job gets you up in the morning? What do you look forward to?
  2. What are you learning about yourself, the company and/or our industry?
  3. What can I do {as your manager} to make your work life more satisfying?
  4. Is there anything I can do differently {as your manager} to make it easier for you to do your job?
  5. How content are you with the opportunities that have been made available to you?
  6. What makes you stay with the company?
  7. Do you ever think about leaving the company? What prompted this?
  8. What concerns do you have about your future with the company?

Managers should come prepared with ideas to address all aspects of retention and workplace satisfaction. They need to anticipate potential requests and be proactive in managing their direct reports’ career interests and progress.