How to carry out a stay interview to retain talent

A quick summary:

Naturally, people come and go in the workplace. Turnover, to some degree, is inevitable because reasons can range from unhappiness to just plain and simple relocation.

However, business leaders understand that it’s in their power to improve employee retention, and exit interviews are just one method for achieving this. 

Not because they persuade exiting employees to reconsider, but they inform leaders about the possible causes that might push future employees to also leave.

In this post, we want to discuss the rising use of stay interviews, what exactly they mean and how to conduct your very own ‘stay interview’ with your employees.

It’s in these conversations that give HR professionals the opportunity to quash issues, slow down the rate of turnover and improve employee retention. 

What exactly is a ‘stay interview’?

To be able to conduct our very own stay interviews, we must first look at exactly what they are and why we should consider them in the first place.

Stay interviews are in fact, very similar to 1-2-1 wellbeing meetings, in the way they serve to boost employee wellbeing.

They’re ultimately designed to pinpoint turnover issues and other common problems employees are facing in the workplace. 

In fact, stay interviews should be seen as a positive discussion with team members, but also an essential addition to employee retention strategies.

In most corporate setups, employees aren’t advised to speak out honestly about their feelings towards the workplace. Yet, it’s this dialogue and the hard truth that could make or break the structure and size of your team.

These particular interviews only work, however, with managers and leaders who can go into them with an open mind and willingness to listen. 

What are the benefits of a stay interview?

Now that we’re aware of what to expect when it comes to a stay interview, what are the benefits for your business, and as a manager trying to recruit, retrain and keep people happy? 

Highlight common turnover triggers

As mentioned above, one of the most significant benefits of stay interviews is their ability to highlight common turnover triggers. 

This includes reasons certain employees could be unhappy, widespread issues with your management practices, or even more general problems with things like salary increases and holiday allowance. 

Whatever the root cause of turnover and damaged morale, this is where leaders should start on their quest to improve employee retention through stay interviews. 

Clear the air and rebuild better relationships

Next up, it’s worth mentioning the power stay interviews can have in resolving conflict, disagreements and rebuilding better relationships. 

As the saying goes, people quit bosses, not jobs - or at least that appears to be true for 57% of employees in one survey. 

With so much influence on retention in the hands of managers and leaders, these relationships are crucial if businesses want to retain top talent. 

Using stay interviews, managers can dig deeper into the poor relationships they have with their teams, or that of other colleagues. 

This kind of flawed relationship can strongly impact our mood, our ability to collaborate and also inflict on wider team morale. 

Through a range of questions on the topic of employee-manager relationships, more can be done before employees totally jump ship.

This is a major benefit of stay interviews, as they act before it’s too late, and as we’ve discussed, poor relationships with co-workers could be the nail in the coffin when it comes to mass turnover. 

Learn how to improve employee retention

Ultimately, stay interviews keep managers one step ahead of the turnover rate, and helps them vastly improve employee retention. 

These interviews are essentially just glimpses into what’s to come and why people leave, which is all managers really need to get employee retention on the right track.

If businesses want to retain their best employees, they need to learn and improve over time. They need to listen, act, and then go again. 

Whether it’s problems with relationships, disagreements on salaries, not feeling valued enough, or a thousand other reasons, stay interviews identify them head-on. 

It’s an opportunity for both managers and employees to express how they truly feel about their workplace, duties and responsibilities, and colleagues. 

And while this is the fundamental goal of stay interviews, it’s worth noting that happy employees will also tell you what’s going right, and what they enjoy the most. 

Not only will this fill leaders with hope and pride for the workplace they have built, but it will give them an insight into what they should continue to pursue to build happier, healthier teams.

Questions to ask in a stay interview

Now for the tricky part, what to ask your employees in a stay interview scenario? Below, you’ll find 27 great questions to incorporate into any stay interview, all designed to seek out the truth about how your team feels, so you can continue improving retention. 

Questions for the individual

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning and makes you look forward to work?
  2. What do you least look forward to with work on a daily basis?
  3. When was the last time you considered leaving your job?
  4. What was the root cause of feeling this way?
  5. What would tempt you to leave your current position?
  6. Would you recommend working here to friends and family? If not, why wouldn’t you?
  7. How would you rate your health and wellbeing currently from 1 to 10?
  8. Has your work impacted your wellbeing at all?

Questions regarding job role

  1. Do you feel some of your skills and talents go underused?
  2. What are those skills and talents?
  3. What would make you enjoy your job much more?
  4. If you could eliminate tasks and duties from your role, which would they be?
  5. Are the goals and objectives of your role clear and understandable?
  6. Do you agree with them or would you make any changes?
  7. Overall, how would you rate your job satisfaction from 1 to 10?

Questions regarding relationships

  1. As your manager, what could I do more or less of to support you?
  2. What do you think about the current company culture?
  3. Is there anything you would change about it?
  4. Do you feel your opinions are valued by others in the team?
  5. Would your relationships with others at work be a factor for leaving? If so, why would this be the case?
  6. Have you had any conflicts or disagreements with other colleagues?
  7. Do you think we do enough as a company to build relationships?
  8. Have you experienced or witnessed workplace bullying in the team?
  9. Do you feel comfortable speaking up if you are unhappy about something?
  10. Is there anything management can do to support a healthier work-life balance?

You should use these questions as a starting point to create your very own stay interview strategy; hopefully this should help begin boosting employee retention in your team.

Taking action after your stay interview

The Great Resignation has proven that people are looking for better futures; it has proven that managers and leaders are failing to hear their demands for healthier, happier work-life balances.

While stay interviews are great initiatives to enhance employee retention, they are only half the battle. Remember, actions must be put into place through the answers and results of stay interviews. 

Of course, things don’t and typically can’t happen overnight. Whether it’s work from home policies changing, new employee benefits being announced, or changes to job roles, it’s worth letting team members know you’re working on it.

Simply keeping them in the loop with regular updates on progress shows you’re serious about employee retention and building healthier, happier teams. 

We suggest that you take plenty of notes during stay interviews to act as an action plan for the coming days, weeks or months. With these notes, speak with your other leadership team members on the next necessary steps. 

If any of your team’s suggestions aren’t possible, be completely honest as to why, rather than suggesting they may come about in the future. This kind of expression fills people with hope, and will lead to shattered trust and loyalty if promises aren’t delivered. 

Improving employee retention strategies through employee wellbeing

What we’ve learnt from the above is that Improving retention starts by listening and acting on the requests of employees. 

As it turns out, employees are searching for healthier ways of living, and rely on leaders to support this in the workplace. 

The world is becoming more health-conscious and businesses need to assist people through health and wellbeing incentives. 

Luckily for you, here at Heka, our employee benefits platform focuses entirely on health and wellbeing. In fact, thousands of employees can book thousands of wellbeing experiences, services and products across 50+ wellbeing categories. 

Whether it’s axe-throwing in the heart of London, a virtual yoga class from the mountaintops, or bags full of healthy meals delivered to your doorstep, Heka makes all this possible. 

There are tons of great benefits that come with improved employee wellbeing, one, of course, being better employee retention strategies! If you’d like to find out how your team can benefit, book a demo with our wellbeing experts today!