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4 Tips for Conducting Effective Stay Interviews

As a people leader, you want nothing more than to help your team thrive in the workplace. 

You want to see your employees engaged in their work, happy in their roles, and contributing to the team in meaningful ways! 

But when employee engagement or morale levels begin to dip, it’s troubling! You might be wondering: “what can I do better?”. Stay interviews are one way of finding this out! 

In this blog post, we’ll share what stay interviews are, the benefits of these exchanges, and some of the best practices for stay interviews that drive impactful results! 

What is a “stay interview”? 

A stay interview is an interview structured as a casual conversation with current employees to assess how they feel about their job and work environment. The goal of a stay interview is to understand why employees are “staying” with your company – hence the name! Stay interviews are also a great opportunity to identify areas of improvement to increase employee retention and morale. 

We spoke with Colleen Sammon, Human Resources Lead at the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association (BCMEA), who told us about the amazing impact that stay interviews have had on their organization: 

“Early in our stay interview process, we learned that employees really missed in-person social activities outside of work. We had done them pre-pandemic, but we hadn’t yet resumed. We started doing activities again (kayaking, dinners, etc.), and saw an immediate improvement in employee morale!”  

– Colleen Sammon, HR Lead at BCMEA 


Why should I conduct stay interviews with my employees? 

A stay interview can… 

  1. Drive employee engagement and improve their relationship with your organization. 
  2. Boost retention levels so you retain more of your top talent. 
  3. Give you the information required to make positive changes within your workplace. 
  4. Reduce turnover rates while increasing employees’ loyalty to your organization. 
  5. Improve overall employee happiness and morale. 
  6. Build trust and improve communication between you and your employees. 


Get the most out of your stay interviews with these 4 key tips 

Want to optimize your stay interviews for the best results? Try these easy and impactful tips that Colleen recommends: 

  1. Meet one-on-one with your employees as opposed to a group setting. A one-on-one setting helps build trust between you and your employee. It also opens the floor for them to be candid about how they feel about their role within your company. On the other hand, a group setting can discourage openness and honesty since answers are not anonymous. 
  2. Facilitate stay interviews in-person, if possible. Naturally, in-person conversations are more personal and encourage authentic exchanges. In-person conversations also allow for the reading of nonverbal cues and body language, enabling a greater understanding between two people. 
  3. Close the loop on feedback. Showing your employees that you listen to their feedback by actioning what can be done is essential for building trust, showing that you actually care, and making real progress in your workplace. 
    • Action anything that can be done – the sooner, the better! The best way to see progress is by taking stay interviews as a legitimate opportunity for you as the employer to build a better workplace for your team. 
    • If something can’t be done, then explain the reason(s) to the employee. If there’s something (e.g., union limitations, etc.) preventing you from taking action on employee feedback, be sure to take the time to explain why. 
  4. Maintain anonymity, but don’t promise confidentiality. The results of stay interviews are meant to be shared so that they can be actioned! Make sure your employees understand that their name will not be shared, but what they have told you during their stay interview will be so that you can help make any necessary improvements. 


Not sure where to start? No sweat! In our Stay Interview Guide, Colleen shares 10 questions that she asks during her stay interviews to drive stellar results at BCMEA. Download this (free!) tool today to get started!  

Still feeling stuck? We’re here to help! Reach out to our team of HR experts with any questions or to request a free 15-minute consultation to get you on the right track!