Lady getting ready to have her stay interview
People + Culture

Four questions to ask in a stay interview

Holding a stay interview is your best bet to retain top talent.

Holding a stay interview is your best bet to retain top talent and is something you can do if you are experiencing an employee attrition spike.

Here we look at four essential questions that you should ask in your stay interview. We’ll look at what they might uncover, and how to follow up on each question to find out more.

Four essential stay interview questions

  1. What do you look forward to most in your workday?

This is a good leading question that will help set the tone for your stay interview. If the employee’s answers are positive, and they can easily list things they look forward to, you can expect a stay interview with a mostly content worker. Or at least one that is still engaged in their position.

Instead, if the employee says that there are very few positive elements they look forward to in the morning—before the workday has even begun—you will know you are at risk of losing this employee. Negative answers here would point to a disengaged and unhappy worker.

Whatever the answer, try to understand the positive and negative elements as well as any challenges. This will give you a clear roadmap of what needs to be changed to improve their experience.

Manager and employee having a stay interview

  1. When was the last time you thought about leaving?

And, what prompted it?

If it helps, you could also ask your employee to rate their desire to leave (whether past or current) on a scale of one to 10. Try to find out what meaningful action you could take to change their mind.

  1. What do you want to learn at work?

This is a good question to gauge whether your employee feels like they are being challenged in their current role. They may aspire to diversify their skills, and this is a chance to uncover whether they feel they can do so in your workplace.

Additional follow-up questions include, ‘Do you feel there are pathways to advance your career here?’ and ‘What would you look for in a future employer?’.

Answers here may reveal that your employee is ready for new responsibilities, more variety, upskilling or a lateral move in the business.

Lady having a virtual stay interview

  1. What would improve your work experience?

Everyone has a preferred way to work, communicate, and be managed. A stay interview is a good chance to understand the specifics. Ask pointedly: what can I do more of? What can I do less of?

Alongside uncovering any issues your employees may be facing, the object of a stay interview is to build trust and transparency. Your employees want to feel like they are heard, and that you can cater to their needs just as they are meeting your expectations in the workplace.

If you can do this, and deliver on your promises, your stay interview will go a long way in helping retain your top-performing talent.


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