how do you find out if your employees love their jobs or are just tolerating them?

What is a Stay Interview and Should You be Doing Them?

More and more we’ve reported on people leaving the workplace. But there are some who’ve been fortunate enough to find a job they love and are willing to stay at for many years. With all this turnover and uncertainty, how can companies determine if their employees are happy in their roles? Well,  Stay Interviews may be just the answer.

What is a Stay Interview?

You’ve heard of Exit Interviews, where companies gather information from employees who are leaving in order to understand what areas are working and what areas need to be fixed. Stay Interviews are very similar, except both the employer and employee are working toward retaining existing workers. Stay interviews are typically led by employers but either party can request one if they think the relationship needs this evaluation in order to stay strong.

What are the Benefits of Stay Interviews?

1. You’ll hear the truth from an employee who knows you

For the company, you’ll be hearing from a loyal employee who values your company. However, this employee most likely has been with you for a while and won’t be afraid to tell you what’s working and what’s not. In order for Stay Interviews to be effective, honesty and transparency need to be at the forefront of the conversation. It’s not a time to get defensive about how great your company is or why certain practices are set in stone. To be truly effective, a Stay Interview should be a safe place where both parties work together to improve the company—even if some "strong" processes need to be rebuilt. If your company does not have this kind of safe space culture, Stay Interviews won’t be as effective. If this is the case, consider conducting engagement surveys or bringing in outside consultants to perform interviews in order to reduce turnover

2. Employees have an opportunity to improve their workplace

Employees hold the cards in these interviews. They can voice their opinions on a variety of topics from how they receive recognition and feedback to their opinions on management effectiveness and policies. Employees will also be showing the company how much they are committed to change, regardless of any issues that come up in the Stay Interview. They have the ability to make the workplace better for others who don’t want to speak up, too. 

3. Stay Interviews can be more effective than engagement surveys

Think about it: engagement surveys simply gather anonymous data from a broad swath of employees. Depending on how big your company is, that anonymous data might not offer clear pain points that bring about concrete actions. A Stay Interview can offer clear details on what’s working and what’s not working within an individual team dynamic. Then team leads have the ability to discover immediate changes they can make while consulting with other teams on how to improve processes going forward.

4. What are the signs of requesting a Stay interview?

If you’re the manager, you might request a Stay Interview from any employee who’s been with the company for a while. If many people are leaving, this is a strong reason to ask employees if they’d consider participating. Employees more often request Stay Interviews if they love their workplace but notice discontent on their team. If they want to change anything about their workplace, a Stay Interview can provide great feedback to the company.

5. What questions should arise in Stay Interviews?

Generally, the manager asks all the questions upfront and leaves time for the employee to cover anything they missed. You’ll want to keep your questions pointed at what’s working and what’s not. Here are a few questions to begin with:

  • What keeps you coming to work every day?
  • What are the pain points of your job?
  • What did you like about the job as a new person? How have your views changed over the years?
  • What can I do as your manager to change anything about your immediate working situation?

You can also ask the employee to bring anything concrete they wish to cover to the interview. For more ideas, this article outlines a typical Stay Interview.

And if you’re looking to build your team with great talent, we can help you find those team members who’ll get the job done. 

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