Human Resources

Stay Interviews—Asking the Right Questions

In yesterday’s Advisor, Erin Pappo, client services director for Camden Consulting Group, discussed the value of stay interviews to organizations. Today, Pappo reveals 10 questions to ask in a stay interview and how to use the feedback effectively.

Ask the Right Questions in Order to Make the Right Changes

Stay interviews should dig deeper than the usual questions asked in exit interviews, which tend to focus on severance, the office environment, and policies; rather than more significant engagement questions, and discovering what motivates employees.

You want to find out what excites people about their roles and the company. Is this consistent with how they felt when they first started, and if not, what has changed? Are there any areas of their current job they dislike so much that they might be tempted to leave? What do they think they might find elsewhere that would be a better fit or more engaging for them?

10 Questions to Ask in the Stay Interview

  1. The last time you went home and said, “I had a great day, I love my job”, what had happened that day?
  2. The last time you went home and said, “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore,” what had happened that day?
  3. If you switched careers, what would you miss the most?
  4. What do you like most about your team?
  5. What demotivates you most about working on your team?
  6. What is really different at this company that makes you proud to be an employee?
  7. What demotivates you most about working for the company?
  8. What did you love in your last position or company that you’re not doing now?
  9. Is your manager effective? (If so, what does he or she do that you value most? If not, what could he or she be doing more of, less of, or differently?)
  10. If you could afford to retire tomorrow, what would you miss most about your job?


Using the Feedback to Make Real Changes

After the interview, it’s important to have a team and plan in place to implement the ideas and suggested changes that come from these discussions. As an organization, you also must show that you’re taking feedback seriously and using it to improve the workplace.

If you’re conducting these stay interviews on a consistent basis, people will get used to them. And if you’re actually making improvements as a result of the feedback, then employees will begin to trust that the company is taking their input seriously and is working to improve company issues. Managers need to be held accountable for sustaining changes that are the result of the stay interview.

Implement into Your Corporate Culture

Done right, stay interviews can be a vital part of a more comprehensive engagement and retention strategy for organizations trying to reverse the flow of departures. It is important to implement stay interviews within the first 6 months of employment and make it a constant part of the culture so you can identify what factors are influencing turnover—and not let that get ahead of you.

If you think you can wait until the exit interview to get the same information, you may be correct. However, it will be too late to leverage that data to keep the employees who provided it.