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A 2023 Guide to Successful Stay Interviews and 10 Questions Employers Ask

A 2023 Guide to Successful Stay Interviews and 10 Questions Employers Ask

Stay interviews aren't the most popular employee retention tactic, but they get the job done. In one study conducted at a Florida hospital, stay interviews reduced overall turnover by 37%[1] and decreased nurse turnover by 70%.

So, what is a stay interview? How do you prepare for one? How do you conduct stay interviews? And most importantly, what questions should you ask in a stay interview? We'll answer all these questions in this guide.

What Is a Stay Interview?

Stay interviews, also known as retention interviews, are one-on-one meetings with current employees designed to assess why employees continue to stay with the company, what they love about their job, and what could be improved.

A stay interview program aims to gather feedback from top-performing employees to understand what aspects of the company make them stay and remain productive. Stay interviews will also give you a deeper look into employee engagement, employee experience, and company culture.

Unlike recruitment interviews, a stay interview is more of an informal conversation between the manager/supervisor and individual employees.

A stay interview differs from an exit interview in many ways. First, stay interviews are conducted with current employees, while exit interviews are carried out with team members who have already handed over their resignations. Secondly, stay interviews are conducted by an employee's direct manager or supervisor, while exit interviews are usually conducted by human resources management.

Benefits of Conducting Stay Interviews

Not quite convinced whether stay interviews are right for your business?

While the long-term goal of stay interviews is to increase employee retention and identify the factors that make valuable employees stay, given below are some other benefits that can make stay interviews worthwhile.

1. Makes the Employees Feel Heard

Studies show that 80% of employees[2] don't feel heard at their workplace.

When employees feel that their voices and opinions don't count, their level of engagement and loyalty dwindles. Conducting stay interviews or employee surveys and implementing changes based on valuable employee feedback make workers feel heard and increase their engagement at work.

2. Boosts Employee Satisfaction

Stay interviews provide valuable insights that allow the company to identify employee pain points and work on them to meet the employees' needs.

For instance, if employees feel underpaid, the company can improve its incentive plan by raising pay or providing performance bonuses. If employees feel unhappy with their career growth, the company can also enroll them in professional development courses and reimburse the cost. Doing so can improve not only employee satisfaction but motivation and productivity too.

3. It Promotes an Outlook of Teamwork and Togetherness

Stay interviews are usually informal conversations conducted by employees' direct managers. This helps build a strong relationship founded on trust, honest feedback, and open communication, which influences employees' decisions to stay.

Typically, stay interview questions focus on idea sharing between colleagues who both want the same thing—a promising future and a great experience with the company. In other words, they promote teamwork. Holding stay interviews reminds employees that they're all working together towards the same goals.

How to Prepare for the Stay Interview

Both the manager and the employee must prepare themselves adequately for the stay interview. Here are some golden tips to help you prepare for the interview.

For Employers

A) Inform the Employee in Advance

Informing the employee a few days before the interview is paramount as it gives them enough time to prepare for the session.

B) Make It Interactive

A good stay interview is interactive and shouldn't last more than 30 minutes. It should be more of an interactive discussion rather than a question-and-answer section. The interviewer must make the employee comfortable enough to reveal their thoughts and true feelings.

C) Ensure There's Trust

The best person to conduct the interview is the one the employees trust the most.

In most cases, stay interviews are conducted by the employee's manager. But if there's mistrust between the employee and their manager, the interview will not yield the desired results. In such cases, the HR manager or someone the employee trusts should conduct the interview.

For Employees

A) Prepare Adequately

You need to ask yourself these questions before attending the interview

  • Are you really happy about the job?
  • What do you want as an employee?
  • What aspects of your job do you hate?
  • What aspect of your work environment would you want to be changed?

Going over these questions in your head will prepare you to answer the questions accordingly during the interview.

B) Be Honest

As the wise say, "honesty is the best policy."

By being honest and true to what you say, you'll not only be helping yourself but the company too. For instance, if your manager is a bully, be sure to point that out. If you don't say it for fear of retaliation, you'll suffer the bullying until it becomes unbearable.

Sample Questions to Ask During a Stay Interview

There are many questions you can ask during stay interviews, some of which we've outlined below. We hope these questions can help you create a stay interview template and make the process easier.

1. What Motivates You to Work Every Day?

Expect a wide range of answers to this question. For some, it's their colleagues, while others are motivated by the various growth opportunities provided by the company. Identify trends in their answers and work on the valuable feedback you receive to improve employee motivation and make employees happy.

2. What Do You Love the Most About Your Job?

Employees love the different features of their jobs. You can use the answers to give your people tools and resources that would help improve their performance.

3. Do You Feel Valued in Our Organization?

This question is designed to help you understand the employees' perception of the company.

If the employees don't feel valued, they may leave the company in the near future. To address this, you may need to incorporate things that make them feel they are the most valuable employees. This can include things like offering free health programs and occasional trips.

4. As a Manager, What Can I Do to Improve Your Work?

The goal of this question is to help you understand what steps the company can take to make a positive impact on employee morale and productivity.

5. What Can the Company Do to Improve Your Work-Life Balance?

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a critical step to reducing employee turnover.

Before asking this question, know what you're able to offer. Don't promise things you can't deliver. If the company doesn't have the necessary infrastructure to support remote working, you could offer paid time off and flexible hours.

6. If You Could Change One Thing About Your Job, What Would It Be?

This question can help you discover what employees hate about their jobs.

Listen to their concerns and suggest possible solutions to improve job satisfaction. Some of these concerns might point to bigger problems you didn't know existed in your organization. You may decide to act on those concerns based on the number of people reporting this issue.

7. When Did You Last Think of Leaving Our Company?

This question can help you figure out if your top-performing employees have harbored the thought of leaving your company recently.

8. What Made You Think of Leaving the Company?

This is a follow-up question and should dig deeper into the reasons for wanting to quit.

Some might find the work not challenging anymore. Others might have found organizations with better perks or more growth opportunities. Based on the feedback, you can implement solutions that will make the company more competitive for employees and more attractive for job seekers.

9. What Does Your Dream Job Look Like?

This question aims to help you determine if your people are satisfied with their work. If an employee describes their job as one that's totally different from what they do daily, chances are they won't stick around for long.

But if they describe their dream job as one that involves reporting to the office twice a week, you can arrange for flexible work schedules that will allow them to do precisely that. This can make them happier and improve their productivity.

10. What Might Make You Switch to Another Company

This question will help you identify what put employees off and what to avoid if you want to boost retention rates.

The Bottom Line

This is a challenging period for many organizations as the Great Resignation wreaks havoc on businesses worldwide. With companies looking to keep engagement high and churn rate low, stay interviews can be your secret weapon.

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