A stay interview is a time to meet with your current employees to gauge how they feel about work, to build trust with employees and to measure employee satisfaction. The results of a stay interview help give you an overview about what the company can improve to retain employees – now. Stay interviews are a proactive measure, whereas exit interviews come too late – your employee is already leaving.

How to conduct a stay interview?

There are several categories to a stay interview to help with this process. Review all the categories and questions prior to meeting with the employee and decide which areas apply to you, your employee, and your organization. It is not required to ask all the questions or even touch on every category. Remember, the purpose is to get feedback and take action from the feedback.

Stay interview best practices

  1. Send a calendar invitation to the employee well in advance (at least a week) and ask the employee to be prepared with well thought out ideas for the meeting, or verbally set up the interview in advance.
  2. Conduct the meeting in a conference room or in a location away from other people. A quiet space will create a setting that’s more conducive for the employee to give feedback.
  3. Consider making it a lunch meeting. Bring lunch in or go out to lunch. A more casual setting will be a nice break from the norm.
  4. Keep the meeting to a reasonable timeframe. If an employee has feedback to share, it is ok if the meeting runs a little longer but don’t cut them off because “time is up.”
  5. Have a follow up meeting to discuss actions the company, manager or others have taken.
  6. Do something “outside the box” to help encourage employees to look forward to these interviews.
  7. The interview does not have to be a secret. Share thoughts and ideas with the team and give credit to the employee for coming up with and implementing new ideas.

Types of stay interview questions

General job satisfaction questions

  • What do you like most about your job?
  • What do you like least about your job?
  • What do you like most about our organization?
  • What do you like least about our organization?
  • How can our organization be a perfect 10 in your mind?
  • What is your overall satisfaction rating on a scale of 1-10?
  • What would need to continue for your rating to be a 10?
  • What would have to change for your rating to become a 10?
  • How would you describe our company culture?
  • Are you treated respectfully by members of management?
  • How do our leaders create a safe place for feedback?

Compensation, benefits and perks questions

  • Do you feel you are being compensated fairly for the position you are in vs. the market?
  • What would you like to see in the employee benefits package that is not currently offered?
  • What activities would you like to see our company engage in? Would you be willing to help implement your ideas?
  • What activities do you feel our company does that are not well received?

Employee-centered questions

  • What motivates you?
  • How do you like to be recognized?
  • What keeps you here at our organization?
  • Do you feel you are an important part of the vision, mission and goals of our company? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe your work has meaning? What can we do to improve and create more meaningful opportunities for you?
  • Is our organization providing you with opportunities to grow and develop as a person, team member and
    professional? How can we make improvements in helping you reach your goals?
  • If you could change one thing about your job, what would it be and why?
  • Do you feel you have the necessary tools to perform your job successfully and productively? If not, what is missing?
  • What type of feedback would you like to receive about your performance that you are not receiving now? From me? From coworkers?
  • Do you have other career opportunities you’d like to pursue or consider within our organization?

Wrap-up questions

  • Is there anything else you want to share that we did not cover?
  • Do you have suggestions about how we can improve as an organization?
  • Do you have suggestions for what we can continue to do as an organization?
  • How often would you like these meetings take place?
  • Would you like to receive feedback from anyone else in these meetings in the future?

Stay interviews are most effective when you have an open mind and take the time to understand and care about what the employee is sharing. You must create safety and be open to receiving feedback. Once you have conducted the stay interview, it’s your duty to act. If not, a stay interview without action is a just another meeting and another reason an employee may decide to leave. Take the time to make changes when and where you can to foster trust amongst your employees.

Download Stay Interview Guide