11 Stay Interview Questions People Managers Should Be Asking

11 Stay Interview Questions People Managers Should Be Asking

11 Stay Interview Questions People Managers Should Be Asking

Last updated on June 4, 2024 at 07:48 am

Retention strategies should be top of mind for every organization. And it’s not just about throwing better benefits at people. It’s about opening up a dialogue and giving employees a platform for sharing their thoughts and feelings about the workplace. Luckily, conducting stay interviews and asking the right stay interview questions is a great way to start this two-way conversation. In this blog, we’ll delve into the practical aspects of stay interviews, including who should conduct them, how often they should be conducted, and why they are an important practice.

What is a Stay Interview?

In the realm of employee retention, one powerful tool gaining popularity is the stay interview. A stay interview is a structured conversation between a manager and an employee designed to assess the employee’s level of engagement, job satisfaction, and their likelihood of staying with the company. 

Unlike an exit interview that takes place when an employee is leaving, a stay interview aims to proactively identify and address potential concerns to retain top talent.

During a stay interview, managers ask a series of targeted questions to gain insights into an employee’s experiences, needs, aspirations, and challenges. By actively listening and engaging in these conversations, companies can identify areas for improvement, tailor their retention strategies, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to their employees’ success.

Stay interviews also provide a valuable opportunity for managers to build stronger relationships with their team members. These conversations naturally foster more open communication and create a more positive work environment. They also give employees a chance to express their thoughts, share concerns, and feel heard.

photo of an employee being asked stay interview questions

How to Conduct a Stay Interview

Stay interviews are a collaborative effort between managers and employees, with the primary responsibility falling on the shoulders of people managers.

Here’s a breakdown of who should be involved in the process and how often these interviews should take place:

  • People Managers. Managers have a direct influence on the work environment and the relationship with their team members. As such, it’s the responsibility of managers to be the ones to conduct stay interviews with their employees. They should approach these conversations with empathy, active listening, and a genuine interest in understanding and supporting their team members’ needs.
  • Human Resources Professionals. HR teams play a vital role in facilitating the implementation of stay interviews. They can provide training and resources to managers on conducting effective stay interviews, offer guidance on interpreting the feedback, and help develop appropriate action plans based on the insights gathered. HR professionals can also ensure consistency in conducting stay interviews across different teams and departments.

The frequency of stay interviews can vary. While there is no hard and fast rule, it is generally recommended to conduct stay interviews on a regular basis, picking a cadence you can stick to. 

For example, you may choose to conduct these interviews annually or biannually to ensure a continuous feedback loop. However, managers should also be open to conducting ad hoc stay interviews if they notice changes in employee engagement, performance, or other factors that may impact retention.

By establishing a regular cadence for stay interviews, organizations can proactively address employee concerns, strengthen relationships, and improve retention rates. The key is to create a culture where stay interviews are valued and seen as an ongoing practice to support employee growth and satisfaction.

Next, let’s explore why stay interviews are an important practice in the employee retention strategy.

photo of a manager conducting a stay interview

Why Stay Interviews are an Important Practice

In today’s competitive job market, retaining talent is crucial. This is where stay interviews play a pivotal role. 

By proactively conducting stay interviews, companies can reap several benefits and address potential retention challenges. 

  • Employee retention. Stay interviews are a chance to identify and address factors that may lead to employee turnover. By understanding the needs, concerns, and aspirations of employees, companies can tailor their retention strategies and reduce the risk of losing valuable talent.
  • Employee engagement. Conducting stay interviews demonstrates a genuine commitment to employees’ well-being and growth. Employees feel valued when their voices are heard, concerns are addressed, and their career development is supported. This boosts engagement, improves morale, and fosters a positive work environment.
  • Performance and productivity. Engaged employees who feel supported are more likely to perform at their best. Stay interviews help identify factors that can hinder productivity or job satisfaction, enabling managers to take proactive steps to address those challenges. By aligning employee needs with organizational goals, companies can create an environment that promotes higher performance levels.
  • Talent development. Stay interviews provide insights into employees’ career aspirations and growth opportunities. This information can guide talent development initiatives, including training, mentoring, or job rotations. By investing in employees’ professional development, organizations can cultivate a skilled workforce and promote long-term loyalty.
  • Improved culture. Stay interviews contribute to building a positive organizational culture. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to become advocates for the company. This enhances the employer brand, attracts top talent, and creates a positive ripple effect throughout the organization.

In the next section, we’ll share a set of effective stay interview questions that managers can use to gather valuable insights from employees.

11 Stay Interview Questions Managers Should Ask

Conducting effective stay interviews relies on asking the right questions that elicit meaningful responses. Here are 11 stay interview questions managers should consider asking:

  1. What do you enjoy most about your work?
  2. What keeps you feeling motivated at work?
  3. Which aspects of your role do you find challenging or frustrating?
  4. Do you feel your skills and talents are fully utilized in your current role? Why or why not?
  5. How do you envision your future with the organization? (Also consider the scope of the employee’s whole career, which will eventually not be at your company).
  6. Is there anything that would make you consider leaving the company? 
  7. Do you feel recognized and appreciated for your contributions?
  8. How would you like to be supported in your professional development?
  9. Is there anything that could improve your work-life balance? 
  10. Are there any changes or initiatives you would like to see?
  11. How can I, as your manager, best support you in your role?

Why These Stay Interview Questions Matter

Remember, the success of stay interviews depends on active listening, genuine curiosity, and follow-up actions. Using these questions as a starting point can help managers gather valuable insights and strengthen their relationships with employees.

Each of these questions tackles a different part of the employee experience and places where we know organizations struggle. Gallup research has shown that companies struggle with employee recognition, inclusion, talent development, and more. 

But you don’t know what’s broken at your company until you ask. And every individual might have a different perspective. While you can’t fix every problem, this will help you get a better idea of the dynamics of each team.

vibrantly colored image of a magnet attracting three employees as represented by people icons

How to Start the Process of Conducting Stay Interviews Regularly

Making stay interviews a regular practice requires careful planning, execution, and commitment. Follow these steps to initiate the process of conducting stay interviews on a regular basis:

  1. Define your goals. Clearly outline your why. Why are stay interviews important? What are you hoping to achieve with them? And make sure you share these goals and why it’s so important with your people managers.
  2. Train managers. Provide comprehensive training to managers who will conduct stay interviews. Equip them with the necessary skills to ask effective questions, actively listen, and create a safe and supportive environment for open conversation.
  3. Develop a question framework. Create a set of standardized stay interview questions that align with your organization’s goals. This framework will ensure consistency and enable meaningful comparisons across different interviews and departments.
  4. Establish a schedule. Determine the frequency of stay interviews based on the size of your business and your resources. Quarterly or biannual interviews are common, but the frequency may vary depending on your specific needs.
  5. Communicate the purpose to employees. It’s important for managers to know why they are being asked to do yet another task. But it’s also important to clearly communicate the purpose and benefits of stay interviews to employees too.
  6. Act on feedback. Stay interviews are only effective if follow-up actions are taken. Actively address any issues or suggestions that arise during the interviews. This demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being and reinforces trust in the process.

Remember, the process of conducting stay interviews regularly is an ongoing effort. Continuously evaluate and refine your approach based on feedback and evolving business needs.

The Role of Internal Communication in Stay Interviews

Although stay interviews are definitely a HR retention tool, internal communication also plays a vital role in the success of your stay interview program. Why? Because It serves as a catalyst for effective information flow, employee engagement, and company alignment.


Here’s how internal comms can support the stay interview process:

  • You have to communicate the purpose of the program broadly. Furthermore, you have to be able to tailor that message to managers vs. non-managers. This ensures that employees are well-informed and prepared for their stay interviews.
  • Internal comms can provide stay interview resources. Internal communication teams can develop and distribute resources to support managers in conducting effective stay interviews. These resources can include interview guides, questionnaires, best practice documents, and tips for active listening.
  • Facilitating feedback channels. We suggest creating channels for employees to provide feedback outside of the stay interview process. This can include employee feedback platforms, suggestion boxes, or regular surveys. By providing these channels, internal communication enables ongoing dialogue, encourages transparency, and ensures that employees have opportunities to express their thoughts and concerns beyond stay interview sessions.
  • Sharing stay interview insights. Internal communication plays a crucial role in sharing the outcomes of stay interviews with relevant stakeholders. This may involve preparing reports or summaries that capture the key themes, challenges, and suggestions identified during the interviews. By sharing these insights, internal communication contributes to organizational learning, informs decision-making processes, and helps prioritize initiatives aimed at improving employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Supporting action planning and follow-up. Following stay interviews, internal communication can collaborate with managers and HR teams to develop action plans based on the feedback received. This includes communication strategies to keep employees informed about the progress of initiatives, address concerns, and demonstrate that their feedback is valued and acted upon.

Stay Interview Questions to Guide Your Growth

As you move forward, remember that the success of stay interviews lies in the questions you ask. While we’ve provided you with a set of key stay interview questions to get started, it’s important to tailor them to your company’s unique needs and culture. Be genuinely curious and actively listen to your employees’ feedback. Use their insights to identify areas for improvement, develop action plans, and drive positive change.

At theEMPLOYEEapp, we understand the importance of effective internal communication in supporting your stay interview initiatives. Our comprehensive communication platform empowers organizations to engage employees, facilitate dialogue, and streamline communication processes.

Now is the time to take action. By investing in their satisfaction and growth, you lay the foundation for a thriving and resilient organization. Start implementing stay interviews today and unlock the potential of your workforce.

Ready to take the next step? Request a demo of theEMPLOYEEapp and discover how our communication platform can support your stay interview initiatives. Together, we can build a workplace where employees feel valued, heard, and motivated to stay and thrive.



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