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Is Your Organization Taking Advantage of Stay Interviews? 

By January 26, 2024February 2nd, 2024No Comments

In the bustling world of talent management, where strategies to retain top performers are as diverse as the workforce itself, there’s a lesser-known yet potent tool quietly making waves: stay interviews. As a practice that’s often overlooked in the shadow of its more widely recognized counterpart, the exit interview, stay interviews hold immense potential for organizations looking to proactively engage and retain their most valuable assets – their employees. So, is your organization tapping into this powerful resource? Let’s delve into what stay interviews entail, how they differ from exit interviews, and why they could be the game-changer your organization needs in the quest for employee retention and satisfaction.

What is a Stay Interview?

Stay interviews are a periodic one-on-one proactive approach to obtaining information from a highly valued employee. The focus is on retaining and engaging those highly valued employees.

Is there a difference between a Stay Interview and an Exit Interview?

Stay interviews are proactive, whereas exit interviews are reactive. Both typically give you valuable, actionable information.

Stay interviews are used to engage those valuable employees and discover things before the worker resigns. Stay interviews give managers a chance to address and correct problems sooner. It’s also a great tool to find out what staff love about their job, the organization they work for, and even why they stay.

Exit interviews can give an organization great information about why an employee has chosen to move on. People are also more open and honest with their feedback when they are on their way out.

When, how often, and with whom should you conduct Stay Interviews?

There are several answers to the when and how often:

  • It could be beneficial after the first month of a new employee’s hire. Are the reasons they accepted the job the same after a month on the job?
  • Twice per year
  • Randomly throughout the year
  • During times of change or restructuring

As to with whom:

  • Your high performers
  • Your high potential you want to grow
  • Your reliable employees
  • Newly hired
  • At-risk employees that you wish to retain

Who runs the meeting? HR or the manager?

First, assuming mutual trust and respect between the employee and manager, the manager should conduct the meeting and ask questions. This meeting is another way to enhance the supervisor-employee relationship and for managers to better understand how their actions, or nonactions, might impact an employee’s desire to continue to work for the organization or move on.

What sort of questions should be asked?

There are hundreds of options. Here are five to get you started:

  1. What attracted you to this job?
  2. What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
  3. What keeps you working here?
  4. What one thing would you change about your job?
  5. What can I do to make your job more satisfying?

What do I do with the conversation? What now?

Write up the employee’s responses to your questions. Follow through. Please communicate with your employees what you plan to do in response to their input, including timelines. Be upfront with your employees. If there are areas or changes that you, as the manager, can’t make, be honest and forthcoming and let them know.

Remember, this is an opportunity to listen and gain helpful information to proactively keep your staff engaged and challenged at your organization. Stay focused on them, and don’t get defensive with their comments or concerns. You have a terrific opportunity to show your employees how important they are to the organization and your mission.

Yes, there is power in stay interviews.


For more than 40 years, 501(c) Services has been a leader in offering solutions for unemployment costs, claims management, and HR support to nonprofit organizations. Two of our most popular programs are the 501(c) Agencies Trust and 501(c) HR Services. We understand the importance of compliance and accuracy and are committed to providing our clients with customized plans that fit their needs.

Contact us today to see if your organization could benefit from our services.

Are you already working with us and need assistance with an HR or unemployment issue? Contact us here.

The information contained in this article is not a substitute for legal advice or counsel and has been pulled from multiple sources.

(Photos by Freepik, Rawpixel)

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