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Stay interview questions to ask employees

Apr 26, 2022

Stay interviews are a great way to stay engaged and connected with your workforce. They offer insights into the general morale and wellbeing of your teams, as well as making employees feel empowered and listened to. According to business.com, stay interviews can “help you reduce overall attrition, retain top talent on your team, and assess your employees’ wellbeing within the workplace.” As U.S. resignation rates remain steadily high, as per Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, it’s all the more important for businesses to do what they can to retain valued employees.

To conduct effective stay interviews there are a few important things to remember. With this list of good stay interview questions, we’ll explain the rationale behind what to ask employees and why.

What do you look forward to most about coming to work?

Begin with the good aspects of the workplace to set the tone for the interview. Encourage a breadth of topics in this; you’re talking about the job as a whole. This could be anything, right down to the quality of the coffee.

What do you not look forward to about work?

Such a flip in tone may seem counterintuitive, but because you started brighter, an employee is more likely to respond to this question with useful suggestions on how to remedy aspects they’re less enthused about, even if it’s as simple as switching coffee brands!

When did you last consider leaving the company and why?

It’s important to understand if a top performer has recently thought about changing employers and why. If it’s because of specific aspects of the work then you can look at remedying them quickly. It could be because of other, external factors, which are important for you to understand too.

What’s the best part of your job?

While this seems similar to the first question, it’s actually more specifically focused on the work itself. Talk about the mechanics of the role that they enjoy.

What part of your job would you stop doing if you could?

As with the previous question, target elements of the work itself that could be improved on to make them less dreaded.

What talents do you have that your current role isn’t making use of?

Staff who feel appreciated and valued for their skills are invariably more engaged. Learn what experience and expertise a team member may not be getting to show off and find ways to incorporate it into their role.

As your manager, what can I do more or less?

Building a strong rapport with employees encourages open communication. Showing that you understand the impact of your actions on their working experience will instill confidence in you as a supportive colleague.

How would you like to be recognized for the work you do?

Singing the praises of team members with something like employee of the month may not be to everyone’s taste. Listen to what your employees would like to see as rewards or incentives and be open to introducing new recognition schemes.

A final thought

The key to a successful stay interview is to keep the questions open-ended, encouraging elaboration and discourse. You want to avoid closed questions that can elicit simple yes/no answers, prompting staff to have back-and-forth discussions with managers. Remember that the questions you draw up for stay interviews should be fluid and it’s ok to go off-script if it’s leading to useful insights into the dynamics of the workplace.

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