Stay Interviews: Find Out Why Your Staff Choose to Stay

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis


12 Oct 2018


Almost half of HR leaders in the UK cited employee turnover and retention as their top challenge.[1] With retention a pressing issue for employers, many will be asking the question: ‘How can I get my employees to stay?’

There is no guaranteed way of keeping all your staff from leaving your business, but you can mitigate the risks. One way of doing this is by conducting a stay interview.

What are stay interviews?

A stay interview is a way of addressing your employees’ concerns and remedying any issues before they have a chance to grow into a leaving factor. If you’re looking to conduct a stay interview, it’s best to do so face-to-face, one-on-one.

But, some employees might not feel totally comfortable expressing their issues to you in such an environment, and so having a form they can fill out can also be useful.

In essence, it is a reverse performance review; instead of you telling your employees what you think of them, they tell you what they think of you and your company.

Why should I conduct a stay interview?

There are some employees who will see a better opportunity and jump for it the first chance they get. For these individuals, they are not leaving because of an issue with your company, but an external factor.

It’s the employees who are leaving your business because of an internal problem who are an issue. So, it’s worth conducting stay interviews to improve retention by doing a little detective work.

Stay interviews help to pin down these underlying issues, not just for the individual, but for others within the business who might have the same problem.

Of course, if you want to identify the predominant issues, it’s important that you ask the right questions.

What stay interview questions should I ask?

Before you conduct a meeting, you should draft up a stay interview template, with some pertinent retention questions. Here are some questions you might want to include:

  • What keeps you working here?
  • How would you rate your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10?
  • What makes for a great day at work?
  • If you had to change one thing about your current role, what would it be?
  • Do you receive constructive feedback? If not, what kind of feedback would you like that you aren’t currently receiving?
  • Is your role suitably flexible?
  • Do you feel you have any talents or skills that the company could make better use of?
  • What motivates you?
  • What demotivates you?
  • Is there anything you would like to change about your job, your team, or your department?
  • Is there anything else we haven’t mentioned that you would like to discuss?

Finish with an open-ended question, this lets the employee bring up any issues that you didn’t cover in your previous questions.

Tips on stay interviews

Don’t be too formal. The meeting isn’t an official review and shouldn’t feel like one. Keeping the interview a little casual not only puts your employee at ease, it encourages them to approach you at a later date with any new issues.

Most importantly, act on the feedback received. If your employee raises an issue, and you don’t at least investigate it, they’ll think you aren’t taking their opinion seriously and will be even more motivated to leave.

If a particular issue crops up over multiple interviews then it is vital you take action, as this is likely a prominent reason employees are leaving your company.

Expert Support

For help with conducting a stay interview, including OnSite support, speak to a Croner consultant on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis is the senior manager of the Litigation and Employment Department and assumes additional responsibility for managing Croner’s office based telephone HR advisory teams, who specialise in Employment law, HR and Commercial Legal advice for large organisations across the United Kingdom.


Andrew Willis

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