Stay Interviews: Why and How to Use Them Successfully

January 4, 2023 by

Defining Stay Interviews 

I define a Stay Interview as “a structured conversation a manager has with an individual employee to learn specific actions the manager can take to strengthen the employee’s engagement and retention with the organization.” 


Why Do Stay Interviews? 

Stay Interview questions help your most valuable team members understand that: 

You recognize and appreciate their loyalty. 

You care about more than just their performance. 

You are open to making changes that would help them become more engaged and less likely to leave the organization. 

Stay Interviews also help you discover: 

Warning signs that indicate a key team member needs more support and/or guidance. 

Ways to retain the employees in which you have invested the most time and resources. 

Low-or-no-cost changes that could reenergize your employees’ commitment and engagement. 

Furthermore, Stay Interviews with a smooth implementation also help build trust with your key team members, which may mean that they will talk to you about any concerns prior to them looking for a new job at another organization. 


Preparing to Have Stay Interviews

Preparing for the questions you may encounter during the stay interview is paramount. You want to be able to direct employees to resources they have available to them and begin the process of understanding their job-related perceptions. Remember that this is an exercise in listening and discovering opportunities for improvement. 

To prepare for a Stay Interview, here are some action items to complete: 

Have your department or area managers meet to determine a list of potential top issues employees face. 

Develop a list of available internal resources.

Create your own custom Stay Interview questions.  Based upon my 35 years as a Management Consultant to the Human Resources marketplace, I’ll make this easy for you by providing my most trusted key Stay Interview questions:

  1. Is your job making the best use of your skills and abilities?
  2. What is something new that you would like to learn this year?
  3. How can our organization help you become more successful in your job?
  4. Are we allowing you to reach your maximum potential?
  5. What are three things that we could change here that would help you reach your full potential?
  6. What parts of your job do you like the most and the least?
  7. What part of your job makes you want to jump out of your bed in the morning excited for work?
  8. What makes you want to hit the snooze button?
  9. Do you receive enough recognition?
  10. What kind of recognition would be most meaningful for you?


Stay interviews will not always yield perfect outcomes, but they will certainly heighten employee engagement and retention at your organization.  Most importantly, Stay Interviews will help your leaders build more productive one-on-one relationships with their employees. 


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.