3 Reasons Why You Should Implement Stay Interviews At Your Company

Heidi Lynne Kurter
4 min readFeb 25, 2022


Photo by airfocus on Unsplash

Retention is a top concern for many companies as they struggle to keep existing talent from leaving. Yet, few companies are taking the time to talk to their current employees to learn what it would take to keep them. Employees go through new hire check-ins when they join the company and exit interviews when they leave, yet the time in between is overlooked. Abe Breuer, CEO and owner of VIP To Go, said, “a stay interview allows you to avoid repeated issues, while an exit interview allows you to learn from your mistakes.”

There are a wealth of benefits when it comes to conducting stay interviews. Not only do give an employer time to rectify a situation before losing a quality employee but it makes employees feel like they matter. Thus, communication and active listening are key. By conducting a stay interview, employers are hearing exactly what their employees need. Breuer added, “stay interviews are also beneficial to your employer branding strategy since they give you the information you need to build an employer brand that will attract fresh talent.”

Here are three reasons why you should implement stay interviews.

Learn About An Employee’s Motivations

Depending on the size of the company, stay interviews should be conducted anywhere from every 12 to 24 months. In order to get the most out of a stay interview, employers should strive to create a comfortable and safe space where employees feel relaxed. This will encourage them to open up and allow for a meaningful conversation to occur.

Some questions employers can ask during a stay interview are:

  • What would you change about the company, the culture, and/or your position if you could?
  • What do you like most about the company?
  • What are some of your current challenges?
  • What keeps you here?
  • Do you feel your talents and strengths are being used?
  • What are your career aspirations?
  • Do you believe that’s possible within this company?
  • Do you feel that you have a good work-life balance?
  • What do you look forward to when coming to work?
  • In what ways do you like to be recognized/how can we recognize your work and efforts?

The goal of a stay interview is to learn what an employee likes, dislikes, and what keeps them from taking a job elsewhere. Furthermore, it helps to build trust and gives employees the opportunity to communicate their experiences, ideas, and needs. From there, employers can design strategies, initiatives, and activities to promote these motivations. Employers often assume that a salary is an employee’s sole motivation. While it’s true that everyone wants to be paid a fair wage, not everyone is motivated by salary alone.

Identify Patterns And Areas For Change

The only way a stay interview can be effective is if the feedback given by an employee is taken seriously and used to implement change. Otherwise, it becomes another meaningless task. Likewise, employees will notice that nothing is being done with their feedback and stop speaking up. Megha Gaedke, founder of KetoConnect, explained, “conducting stay interviews is beneficial for many reasons, but the fundamental reason employers should conduct stay interviews is that they provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of an organization.” Moreover, stay interviews allow leadership to understand what it is about their company that makes people want to stay and what gives the company a competitive advantage.

The information obtained from each stay interview should be documented and shared with anyone who makes decisions in the company such as executives, management, leadership, and HR. These decision-makers should prioritize coming together to review the feedback, identify patterns, prioritize opportunities for improvement, and determine what actions steps need to be taken.

Understand Exactly What They Need To Stay

Instead of guessing what will make an employee stay, employers should go directly to the source and hear it from the employee themselves. This prevents time, money, and resources from being wasted.

Some examples of constructive feedback that employers should be prepared to hear in a stay interview are:

  • That the company’s benefits are no longer competitive within the market
  • They enjoy the work they’re doing but they’re severely underpaid
  • They’ve plateaued in their current role and want to advance, learn new skills, or be challenged with more responsibility
  • They lack the support or necessary tools and resources to do their job well
  • The company is not living out its mission and values by taking on clients that contradict what the company stands for

While the feedback might be hard to digest, knowing these things will help employers strategize ways to improve the employee experience and retain existing talent. Lor Rassass, attorney, executive coach, and author, asserted, “a stay interview can provide an employer with valuable feedback and in many cases, you may find that you can make significant changes without very little effort which have the potential to really impact the individual’s working conditions. Also, it’s very possible that if one employee is dissatisfied with a particular term and condition of employment, it’s likely others are unhappy with it as well.”



Heidi Lynne Kurter

Forbes senior journalist, workplace culture consultant, leadership coach, domestic violence advocate, workplace bully activist and Corgi mom!