Use “Stay Interviews” to Retain Valued Employees

Most managers can quickly tell you the names of their most productive and valued employees, but few share that information with the individuals themselves. “Stay interviews” are annual or semi-annual meetings that focus on improving the retention of valued employees. These critical meetings set the stage for discovering what motivates a superstar or uncovering any reasons the person might leave. It is a proactive way to retain employees who may feel overlooked or undervalued, even when the exact opposite is true.

In a recent blog post, HR consultant Mary Lou Parrot suggests six questions to ask during a stay interview:

  1. What kind of feedback or recognition would you like about your performance that you aren’t currently receiving?
  2. What opportunities for self-improvement would you like to have that go beyond your current role?
  3. What kids of flexibility would be helpful to you in balancing your work and home life?
  4. What talents, interests, or skills do you have that we haven’t made the most of?
  5. What have you felt good about accomplishing in your time here?
  6. If you could change one thing about your job, team or company, what would it be?

Most employees will keep thoughts about these topics to themselves unless they believe someone cares. Stay interviews are a way to start a conversation and learn a lot about what motivates employees and how they are feeling. Even someone who is not a superstar may have self-improvement needs or hidden talents. Why not interview everyone?

Once you have the conversation, what do you do with the information? Try to avoid “instant cures” if you hear a lot of needs or get an earful of complaints. Write them down and express your appreciation for their candor. Let the person know that you take their job satisfaction and work-life balance seriously and set up a follow-up meeting in a relatively short time frame. The worst mistake a manager could make would be to ask the questions and do nothing in response.

Is a stay interview in your future?



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