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Bob Gershberg - Conducting Stay Interviews to Improve Employee Retention - June 2024

Conducting Stay Interviews to Improve Employee Retention


by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search


Stay interviews are valuable tools for organizations to retain their high performers and improve employee satisfaction. I underscore high performers as I’ve long been an advocate of retaining A and B players, others not so much.  A stay interview is a discussion we use to gauge why top talent is staying. They are instrumental in identifying retention drivers and improving employee engagement. By identifying potential issues early, organizations can address problems before they escalate and lead to employee turnover. This proactive approach can prevent the loss of valuable talent.


Best addressed in an informal conversation where a manager asks an employee a predetermined set of questions about their experience at the company. It’s more about gathering valuable feedback from your team and continuously improving employee satisfaction and engagement. Think of it as the opposite of an exit interview: Instead of asking why an employee is quitting, a stay interview focuses on what motivates the employee to stick around, what could be better about their work experience and how they envision the next stage of their career within the organization.


We’ve long known that employees will only share how they feel about work honestly, if they feel a sense of psychological safety, or that they can speak freely without fear of retaliation and knowing their feedback will be fully accepted. Stay interviews should focus on how your employee feels about the work they do every day, the value of their contributions and how they feel within the organization. It’s not a time to share status updates about projects.


Feedback from stay interviews can highlight areas for cultural improvement. Addressing these areas can create a more positive and supportive work environment. When employees see that their feedback leads to real changes, it can significantly boost morale and create a more positive workplace atmosphere. Regular stay interviews can improve communication and strengthen the relationship between managers and their team members, leading to a more cohesive and productive work environment. Understanding what employees need to perform their best can lead to targeted interventions that enhance individual and team performance.

Some suggested stay interview questions:


  • What do you look forward to most when you come to work every day?

  • What do you dread about work every day?

  • When was the last time you thought about leaving the company and what caused it?

  • What would tempt you to leave the company?

  • Would you recommend our company to a job-seeking friend? Why or why not?

  • What is the best part of your job, and how can we incorporate more of this into your role?

  • What part of your job would you cut out straight away if you could?

  • Which of your talents and strengths are you not using in your current role?

  • What would make your job even more satisfying?

  • How do you prefer to be challenged or stretched in your role?

  • Can you share an example of a time you felt extremely proud of your contribution to the company?

  • Do you feel you’re getting clear goals and objectives?

  • Do you feel valued and recognized in the company?

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

  • How do you prefer to receive feedback for your work?

  • What are we currently not doing as a company that you feel we should?

  • How well do you think our company culture supports your mental health and wellbeing?

  • What would make your work environment more enjoyable or productive?

  • Are you satisfied with our current work from home policy? If not, what do you think we need to change?

  • How do you feel about the balance between your work and personal life, and is there anything we can do to support a healthier balance?

  • What’s one policy or rule you believe is outdated or unnecessary, and how do you think it should be changed?

  • Do you have enough tools and resources to do your job properly? If not, what is missing?

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add or discuss that we haven’t covered today?


The stay interview is a great way to make employees feel like they matter. They want to be seen, heard and valued. Ask them what they think and pay lots of attention. It will serve you well!



All the best, 

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

(888) 875-9993 ext 102


Finding tomorrow’s leaders today! 

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