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Stay interview questions to ask your employees

Stay interviews are conducted to help managers understand why employees choose to stay and what might cause them to leave. These interviews have become an increasingly important way for organizations to improve retention and keep turnover low. In fact, a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found that 27% of companies are already conducting stay interviews to reduce turnover and another 24% plan to implement such interviews.

A stay interview typically includes a set of standard, structured questions used in a conversational manner between managers and high-performing employees. With these interviews on the rise, here are five questions to help you better understand how you can keep your talent around long-term.

Question 1: What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?

Asking what your best employees look forward to each day is a beneficial way to uncover what aspects of the workplace they most enjoy. This can help managers recognize what's working well with their employees and what can be improved on moving forward.

Question 2: What keeps you working here?

A stay interview is aimed at identifying why workers stay and simply asking them is an effective way to unearth this information. It's essential for employers to listen and gather ideas along the way to maximize engagement, morale, productivity and retention in the long run.

Question 3: What would you like to learn here?

Learning and development opportunities are increasingly important to employees across industries, and stay interviews are helpful to recognize where these opportunities might be lacking in your company. According to a report from Lorman, 74% of surveyed employees don't feel they're reaching their full potential at work due to a lack of development opportunities. By introducing more options for learning and growth, you're likely to see higher morale and engagement, as well as improved retention.

Question 4: What motivates you?

Another main objective of stay interviews is to uncover what is motivating your workforce. A more thorough understanding of what pushes your employees to produce their best work will be highly valuable moving forward.

Question 5: What might tempt you to leave?

Just as you might ask your employee why they choose to stay, it's beneficial to inquire why they might consider leaving as well. After your team members explain what they find less appealing about your company, their response can be used to make enhancements as the company grows.

At the end of the interview, it can be helpful to summarize the key points your employee mentioned — both about why they stay and what might tempt them to leave. You can show team members that you were listening closely and fully understood what they had to say. Moreover, you can develop a unique plan with your employees to ensure they stick around long term. 

Overall, a stay interview aims to help managers and employers understand what aspects of the company should be emphasized or expanded and what elements need to be improved upon. By elevating your systems, you are likely to see more engaged employees and reduced turnover along the way.

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