Looking for a method that will help you retain your best and most productive current employees? Ask them what they love about your organization—and why they stay with you. Their responses will tell you a lot about what you're doing well as an employer—and unfortunately, they will also identify what you're not doing that employees want or need.
Use these sample questions as you conduct stay interviews with your current employees. Ask the follow-up questions only if they make sense in the context of the employee’s responses. You may also pursue responses that were unexpected or are in need of elaboration by following up with additional questions that you don't find here.
The Most Important Question
The most important question, that you need to ask in every stay interview is: What would make you start a search for a new job. (This is similar to the most important question to ask in an exit interview: What caused you to look for a new job in the first place?)
General Stay Interview Questions
These questions ask about the employee's experience of the total organization as an employer.
- What do you like most about your job and work in our organization?
- What do you like least about your job and work in our organization?
- How happy are you working here on a scale of 1-10 with 10 representing the happiest?
- What would have to happen for that number to become a 10?
- When you think about employers, how does this organization rate overall on a scale of 1-10 with 10 representing the best possible employer?
- What would it take for the company to earn a 10 in your mind?
- How well does the organization focus on producing a quality product for customers?
- Overall, how well do we walk the talk when we say that engaging and satisfying our customers is our highest priority?
- Have you ever thought about leaving the company? If so, what caused you to consider leaving? Why did you decide to stay?
- Have you actively job searched in the past year? Why were you leaving?
Specific Stay Interview Questions Related to Employee Needs
These questions cover the factors that have to do with how employees feel about working in their specific job. They also cover factors that the employee needs from his or her manager and the organization's senior managers. They also cover the five factors that every employee needs from work.
- Do you feel that you are part of a bigger vision and mission? Why or why not?
- Do you believe that your work has meaning? How can we work together to make your work more meaningful?
- Is the organization providing you with opportunities to grow and develop as a person and as a professional? What would improve your opportunities?
- Do you feel that you have the necessary control over your job to perform most successfully and productively?
- Do you feel as if you are a member of the in-crowd, the employees who receive information as quickly as something changes?
- Are you treated respectfully by your coworkers?
- What type of feedback would you like to receive about your performance that you are not receiving now? From me? From coworkers?
- Do you know what career opportunities you’d like to pursue with our organization? Can you see yourself accomplishing them here?
- Do you respect the amount and kind of leadership that you receive from the senior managers?
- Do you trust the senior leaders?
Questions That Solicit the Employee's Input on Compensation and Perks
- How well does your compensation stack up competitively in the local market?
- What would you like to see in the employee benefits package that is not currently offered?
- When you consider the employee activities, events, parties, company-sponsored sports teams, company paid race entries, the company provided meals and snacks, and family activities, which would you like to see continued? If the need occurred, which would be easiest for you to give up?
Final Stay Interview Questions
- Is there anything else that is important to you that we did not cover during this meeting?
- Do you have suggestions about how we can improve as an organization?
If you learn what employees need and want in your organization, you can spend your time, energy, and money on the right things. Without this information, you are punting blindly and hoping that you can read their minds.
The Bottom Line
With the information you receive in an employee stay interview, you can take the pulse of your organization and determine the needed areas for improvement. You'll be happy you asked these questions in a stay interview when you retain your best employees.