Using Stay Interviews to Prevent Exit Interviews

Article provided by guest contributor Denise McKee.


The price of replacing an associate who leaves the company can be staggering: just the act of finding another employee can cost thousands. If you’re conducting more exit interviews than you would like, it might be time to consider implementing stay interviews in your employee retention program.

What are Stay Interviews?

Stay interviews are conducted with current employees to discover any problems or concerns the associate may have. This gives your company the opportunity to address potential issues that could trigger your best employees to dust off their resumes and start looking for new opportunities.

How to conduct a stay interview

These interviews should be conducted one-on-one and in person, not online. It’s also best to leave Human Resources out of it, for now, and have the employee’s direct supervisor take charge. This  helps build trust between the manager and associate. The interview doesn’t need to last longer than 30 minutes, but it should be a priority.

Active listening is crucial to the success of these meetings. This is an opportunity to hear what the associate has to say, not a time to become defensive or make excuses.

The manager should ask important questions to get at why an employee chooses to stay in their role, as well as how things can be improved. The manager should engage in the responses and probe further into points that are brought up. Some important questions to ask are:

  1. What do you look forward to on your way into work?
  2. What are you learning and hope to learn while working here?
  3. Why do you stay here?
  4. Have you thought of leaving and why?
  5. What can I or the company do to make your job better?

What to do after the interview

Once the stay interview is complete, don’t let it sit on the shelf gathering dust. Now is the perfect time to get Human Resources and other members of management in one room to discuss employee answers to look for patterns. If something can be corrected, do so quickly and communicate this with the employees. If employees see that you take what they say seriously and act on it, they are more likely to be more loyal to the company. If there is no timely improvement, employees could view the interview as meaningless and not feel comfortable sharing their concerns again.

Once the findings of the stay interviews are implemented and changes are made, look back at your turnover rate. If it’s decreased, you know these interviews have been successful and your employees feel they are respected and listened to by management


Stay interviews are effective and can keep you from costly turnover while helping you retain loyal and dedicated employees.

For more information on stay interviews, or for help filling that role you just completed an exit interview for, contact The Reserves Network. A qualified recruiter can help you with all your staffing and retention needs.

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