Stay Interviews – How to Retain Satisfied and Engaged Employees

Thanks to low unemployment, we are currently in a candidate-driven employment market. Accordingly, some employees are leaving employers for positions they perceive are bigger and better.

By Jackie Clausnitzer, PHR, SHRM-CP

HR Services Partner

Stay Interviews – How to Retain Satisfied and Engaged Employees

When looking to refill these now open positions, employers must pursue those currently employed elsewhere. Retaining valued employees in this atmosphere is more important than ever! Robert Half research shows that “42 percent of workers, and a whopping 68 percent of millennials, say they plan to look for a new job in the next 12 months.”

Employment turnover is very costly to a business. Hiring costs commonly including a recruiting team, job board and career event fees, background checks, time lost to fill the position and so much more. Both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Glassdoor state that the average cost per hire is approximately $4,000 and can take up to 52 days to fill the position. This price tag does not include the cost to onboard and train a new employee.

How do you know if your employees are satisfied and engaged?

According to SHRM's Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement: The Doors of Opportunity are Open research report, these five factors lead to job satisfaction:

  1. Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels;
  2. Compensation/pay;
  3. Trust between employees and senior management;
  4. Job security; and
  5. Opportunities to use their skills and abilities at work.


How can employers determine if their employees are satisfied and engaged?


You may have seen some version of the following quote on various social media sites, “People leave managers, not companies.” Exit interviews and employee satisfaction surveys may not give you the warning signs needed to correct an issue in a timely manner. Stay interviews can provide you the information that you need in real-time to assist you in retaining your valuable employees.

By partnering with a Professional Employer Organization (PEO), such as Resourcing, HR experts can assist you in developing a strategy that includes stay interviews.

What is a stay interview?

A stay interview is a direct, open conversation, typically between an individual employee and a supervisor or manager. They are not conducted in groups. A stay interview allows an employee to evaluate the company and manager, sort of a reverse employee performance review. During the interview, employees are encouraged to share what motivates or de-motivates them at work, how valued that the feel at work, do they know what is expected of them at work, etc. Supervisors and managers are expected to listen, take notes, probe deeper, and when it is time to talk, be honest with their responses. This process will lend itself to start building a culture of trust, which is a benefit of stay interviews.

How do stay interviews help to retain employees?

Stay interviews help to build a culture of trust and loyalty within your organization. They assist in creating long-term employment within the organization, thus reducing employee turnover. Who you choose to interview and well thought-out, open-ended questions help you to learn detailed information about how the employee and their peers view the organization. What excites an employee about their job may come as a pleasant surprise. “A happy employee is a productive employee.”

How do stay interviews build a culture of trust?

Before starting this new strategy, and to help reduce employee anxiety, explain why you are conducting these interviews and what will be discussed. Once the interview is concluded, the process continues with follow through of things discussed, including the employee, if possible. Make stay interviews a part of your company’s routine. Most importantly, listen. Through this your employees will see that the company’s intentions are genuine.

Are you ready to introduce stay interviews to your organization?

By partnering with a PEO, companies can depend on its HR expertise to design stay interviews that meet their business’ cultural needs, recruiting strategies, and represent best HR practices.

If you would like to learn more about our PEO solution and how to develop a stay interview process, contact Resourcing Edge.

Jackie Clausnitzer, HR Services Partner at Resourcing Edge, has more than 25 years of HR experience gained at manufacturing and service companies. She is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP).