Skip To Content

Effectively Implementing Stay Interviews

photo of two people shaking their right hands across a desk containing a tablet and documents

Conducting stay interviews using thoughtful and relevant questions can provide valuable information to improve the culture of an organization and increase employee retention.  

Stay interviews are structured conversations conducted with current employees providing an opportunity for them to share what they like about the organization, what keeps them there, and what might cause them to think about leaving. Implementing stay interviews is a proactive way to reduce the number of “exit interviews.”

Campus leaders, district leaders, or human resources staff can facilitate the interviews individually or in small groups. Coordinating stay interviews with employee opinion surveys, new hire surveys, and check-ins provides a variety of ways for employees to communicate job satisfaction and opinions of the organization based on their comfort levels.

Which Questions to Use

Besides the typical stay interview questions, Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author and a world-renowned executive coach, offers Six Questions for Better Coaching. These questions are typically used in the coaching process but can be included in stay interviews. These specific questions can improve a leader’s relationship with direct reports and increase job satisfaction for both parties. The questions are:

  • Where are we going? This question allows the employee to share where they think the larger organization should be going and can be used to build commitment to the organizational vision.
  • Where are you going? Use this question to find out where the employee sees their part of the organization going. Discuss to align the goals and priorities of the employee and the organization.
  • What’s going well? This provides an opportunity for the employee to share good news and receive positive recognition.
  • What are your key suggestions for improvement? Employers should ask what suggestions for improvement employees have for themselves and use this feedback to provide constructive suggestions.
  • How can I help? Responses can help supervisors understand how they can be more helpful to particular employees as well as to groups of employees.
  • What suggestions do you have for me? This question initiates a two-way dialogue that focuses on both the employee and supervisor improving.

Listen Closely

Asking relevant questions during stay interviews is a powerful strategy to engage employees and learn what is most important for them to stay on the job. Listening carefully to the responses and considering what positive changes can be made is vital.  

Caution should be heeded to not make major organization changes based on one employee’s responses but on the patterns in aggregate from the interviews. It’s also important to note if no changes are made after stay interviews, employees may feel their time and opinions were ignored or not valued. This could lead to frustration resulting in more resignations.

Using Results

Having a detailed plan for implementation of stay interviews includes deciding not only which questions to ask but also how to proceed after the interviews for the process to result in positive outcomes.

More information regarding stay interviews can be found in the Indeed article Conducting Stay Interviews to Improve Employee Retention.

Search the HR Library (member login required) for employee engagement and retention information and check out the following HRX articles:

Was this article helpful?
Cheryl Hoover
Cheryl Hoover

Cheryl Hoover joined HR Services in 2018. She assists with staffing and HR reviews, training, and other HR projects. During Hoover’s public school career, she served as an executive director of curriculum and principal leadership, executive director of human resources, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and coach.

Hoover earned her bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin and obtained her master’s degree from Texas State University. She is a certified PHR.

HR Services

TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
HRX Logo

Subscribe to HRX

Stay up to date with all the latest HR news and trends by joining the HRX mailing list!