How To Conduct A Stay Interview

We’ve all heard of the exit interview. But employers might have a chance to turn the tables with a stay interview.

Exit interviews are all about finding out why an employee is leaving and what could have helped them stay. Why not ask these questions (phrased a bit differently in a stay interview) to avoid the exit altogether?

According to Gallup’s report, 52% of exiting employees say that their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job. Stay interviews provide the perfect opportunity to find out what that ‘something’ could be! Just follow these tips:

Conduct one-on-one meetings

Schedule private meetings with each employee you manage. Let them know that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss their reasons for staying at the company. Employees will feel more mentally prepared knowing it’s not a regular work meeting. It also signals to them that their manager and organization care whether they stay!

Include everyone

Avoid the perception that certain employees are valued more than others by interviewing all team members, including every manager. Even have conversations with the people you confidently believe will stay. At the end of the day, you don’t know exactly what is going on inside each employee’s head.

Prepare clear questions

Don’t beat around the bush. Ask straightforward questions that are clearly related to the employee’s job and what drives them to do it. Use a positive framework to find out what motivates and excites them day to day. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What do you look forward to the most in your workday?
  2. What is your favorite part about working here?
  3. Do you feel like you are appropriately recognized for your work?
  4. What do you like most about our culture?
  5. What would make a long-term career here enticing for you?

Create a safe space

Emphasize how much you value your employees’ feedback, both positive and constructive! They need a space in which they feel they can speak freely without fear. Express gratitude when constructive feedback is given rather than getting defensive. This is especially important during the tougher questions like:

  1. What could make your job better?
  2. What do you look forward to the least during the workday?
  3. What can I do as a manager to make work more enjoyable for you?
  4. Is there anything you would change about or add to our office?
  5. What would tempt you to leave the company?

Reinforce what works, change what doesn’t

After it’s all said and done, the most important thing to do is act on the insights you gain from each stay interview. Would you order an ice cream cone then not eat it? Of course not! Your stay interviews will only be productive with action afterwards. Make a list of priorities so you can start amplifying each employee’s experience.


Employees are still resigning and reshuffling, so schedule stay interviews before it’s too late. Beyond that, continue to communicate with all your employees frequently. Communication is one of the best antidotes to the Great Resignation!