How to conduct a “stay” interview

Though organizations have been obsessing over the “struggle for expertise” for 20 years, it’s stunning how usually they are going to find yourself shedding worthwhile staff for avoidable causes, resembling not realizing they’re disengaged and open to different alternatives. A well-recognized end result of this cycle has employers attempting to match or enhance their competitor’s provide to retain the worker, solely to notice it’s too little, too late. Present considerations concerning the Nice Resignation have little doubt elevated managers’ worry of shedding worthwhile staff in a tight expertise market.

A robust, but underutilized instrument to keep away from discovering your self on this state of affairs is to conduct a “keep” interview. That is a transient, particular person dialog together with your staff geared toward realizing what makes them need to keep, and what may very well trigger them to go away. Give it some thought because the reverse of the exit interview, by which the aim is to assemble a autopsy rationalization of why somebody left, and what you might have accomplished to keep away from it. 

One purpose keep interviews are helpful is that they supply some construction and a formal course of for checking in together with your staff. This helps organizations nurture manager-employee conversations, and cut back the likelihood that a boss is unaware of their worker’s plans, ideas, and motivation. Whereas organizations usually attempt to handle this with worker engagement surveys, these are usually nameless on the particular person degree, so solely helpful to determine collective developments. Moreover, the correlation between engagement and turnover is far decrease than folks have a tendency to assume, in accordance to the best meta-analytic study


Even when organizations don’t impose it, it’s extraordinarily advantageous for managers to conduct keep interviews. These might not at all times deter somebody from leaving, however they are going to seemingly enhance managers’ understanding of what their groups like and dislike, which ought to assist them retain different worthwhile folks.

Whereas there aren’t any clear-cut guidelines on how to conduct a excellent keep interview, data-driven suggestions have a tendency to agree on the next factors:

They need to be non-public, one-on-one conferences, which state very clearly that the intention is to talk about an worker’s purpose for staying, and due to this fact completely different from common, task-related, work conferences.

They need to be carried out with all staff members, so as to keep away from the notion that managers care solely about sure staff, and that not being interviewed means not being valued.

Questions ought to at all times be clearly associated to exploring the elements of the job, function, and profession that drive staff’ choice to keep. This implies framing the dialogue round optimistic speaking factors: “I would love to get a higher sense of what excites you/retains you /motivates you to stick with us.” Examples of questions to ask can include:

  • What do you want most like about working right here?
  • What do you look ahead to if you find yourself preparing for work?
  • What do you want most about our tradition?
  • What would make a long-term profession with us engaging for you?
  • They need to discover alternatives for enhancing even when optimistic themes on staying dominate the dialog. It will require a minimal diploma of psychological safety, so staff be at liberty to communicate overtly, with out fearing adverse repercussions. This additionally means managers needs to be grateful slightly than defensive after they obtain constructive suggestions from staff. Examples of questions might embody:

    • What may make your job higher?
    • What may I do as a supervisor so that you take pleasure in your work extra?
    • What would you do in my function to encourage the staff extra?
    • Say, hypothetically, you determined to go away within the subsequent two years—what would have precipitated you to go away?

    Maybe a very powerful advice to bear in mind: No matter insights you collect might be ineffective until you’re decided to act on them. This requires you to not simply digest the findings of your keep interview, but additionally make an effort to reinforce what works, change what doesn’t, and assess how your efforts are understanding. Importantly, you don’t want to do every part folks let you know, however prioritize the requests from these you deem extra worthwhile. 


    Final however not least, stepping into the behavior of conducting keep interviews can even enhance your basic communication with the staff. Few issues are extra necessary for efficient administration than the flexibility to create open communication channels and candid and significant dialogue with staff. Most work issues—like most relationship issues—are attributable to a failure to perceive others. There’s no higher antidote to this than nice communication.