The APQC Blog

Are Stay Interviews Effective?

Are Stay Interviews Effective?

In a recent APQC blog post, I wrote about a key tool for dealing with employee turnover—the exit interview. In this blog post, I want to talk about another critical component of any employee retention program—the stay interview.

What is a stay interview? A stay interview is a discussion between a current employee and a representative of the organization, such as a manager, HR, or a neutral party, about the factors that enable and discourage the employee’s retention.

What makes stay interviews effective? Stay interviews are a dual-purpose retention tool. The information gathered in stay interviews helps organizations understand the drivers and barriers of retention, but the interview itself also drives retention. Stay interviews provide employees an opportunity to be seen, heard, and recognized. By inviting an employee to a stay interview, the organization shows that the employee and his/her feedback is valued. 

A 2021 Gallup survey found that 52 percent of voluntarily departing employees say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job. Stay interviews allow organizations to figure out what that “something” is before the employee walks out the door. 

What makes stay interviews an especially effective tool is that they don’t just help retain individual employees. The data collected in stay interviews can also be aggregated to assist HR teams with the following objectives.

What Stay Interviews Can Do For Your Organization

  • Improve retention: Stay interviews provide insight into the big-picture drivers of turnover such as hostile cultures and work environments, stale salaries and benefits packages, and lack of growth opportunities. 
  • Improve onboarding: When conducted with new employees, stay interviews allow organizations to pinpoint and resolve onboarding issues before they lead to turnover.
  • Improve employee engagement: Stay interviews are an employee engagement tactic in and of themselves. They can also help HR identify which other engagement strategies are and are not working, especially when coupled with engagement survey data.  
  • Improve recruitment: Stay interviews shed light on the benefits that matter most to employees, which HR can then highlight in job posts, career pages, and screening interviews. 
  • Improve hiring: Stay interviews reveal the more personal, beyond-the-resume elements of what makes employees a good “fit” for the organization. 
  • Improve learning and development: Stay interviews often surface opportunities to improve training and development pathways to ensure top talent does not need to look elsewhere to grow.

In a competitive talent market, employers must take a proactive approach to retention. Stay interviews help HR and managers understand the factors that drive retention and get ahead of issues that could push loyal employees out the door. 

So, don’t wait until it’s too late. Take a proactive and informed approach to employee retention. If you don’t already use them, now is the time to start conducting stay interviews. And, APQC has the guidance and tools to help you do stay interviews right. APQC members can check out the following resources: