Stay Interviews: Are They Here to Stay?

With the pace of today’s business, the expectations for career development, advancement, and promotion can be high. Learning that an employee is leaving for “a better opportunity” can be disappointing if an employer discovers “too little, too late” that they could have retained a valuable employee. Stay Interviews present opportunities for communication—sooner rather than later, but will they replace exit interviews?

Imagine this: Karen, a valued employee at a growing tech firm, has been with her current company for three years and has developed strong relationships with her colleagues. Although she is not looking to leave, the company has a policy to conduct stay interviews for employees with Karen’s tenure.

During the stay interview, Karen’s manager asks a series of thoughtful questions, such as:

  • What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most? What is going well?
  • Are there any challenges you are facing, and how can we support you? Are there improvements we can make?
  • What motivates you to come to work every day? How do you see where we are going and where you are going?
  • Do you feel valued in your role and the contributions you make?
  • Are there any career development opportunities you would like to explore? How can I help?

The open conversation leaves Karen with a renewed sense of personal attention and concern for her career. Later that month, Karen receives an attractive offer from a competing firm, but the stay interview confirmed her enjoyment in her current position and dissuaded her from pursuing the offer.

Benefits of Stay Interviews

Stay interviews offer numerous benefits that align with core organizational values:

  • Early identification of issues: Stay interviews provide an opportunity for managers to uncover potential problems and address them before they escalate, benefiting both the individual and the organization.
  • Stronger employee-manager relationships: Stay interviews foster open communication and trust between employees and their managers, leading to better understanding, stronger working relationships, and a more unified team.
  • Higher employee engagement and satisfaction: Engaging in regular stay interviews allows employees to voice their opinions, feel valued, and be more invested in the company’s success, leading to higher job satisfaction, productivity, and lower turnover rates.

Real-World Examples of Companies Adopting Stay Interviews

Many companies have recognized the value of stay interviews and ongoing feedback models. Some examples include:

  • Adobe Systems: Adobe replaced annual performance reviews with a “check-in” system, where employees and managers engage in continuous conversations about performance, goals, and development.
  • General Electric (GE): GE introduced “Performance Development,” focusing on ongoing feedback and coaching, aligning with the company’s continuous improvement values.
  • Google: Google’s “People Analytics” team conducts regular surveys and gathers feedback to understand employee engagement and identify areas for improvement.
  • IBM: IBM implemented a real-time performance feedback system called “Checkpoint” to foster ongoing communication between employees and managers.

Connecting Benefits to Core Values: Equiliem’s Perspective

Emily Michaels, Director of HR at Equiliem, sees stay interview aligning with the company’s culture. “Like many companies, we don’t have a formal “Stay Interview” procedure currently. However, the concept connects closely with each of our core values and our approach to people as an organization.” Michaels shares these specific examples from Equiliem’s core values.

  • Improve continuously: “Stay interviews help organizations identify areas for growth and improvement, fostering a culture of learning and development for both employees and the company as a whole.”
  • Honesty and integrity: “By promoting open and honest conversations, stay interviews create an environment of trust where employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns and aspirations.”
  • Empathetic communication: “Stay interviews demonstrate empathy by acknowledging employees’ feelings and understanding their unique perspectives, which is crucial for building strong relationships and employee loyalty.”
  • Accountability: Michaels also said that stay interviews encourage employees and managers to take responsibility for their actions, goals, and performance. “By discussing expectations and areas for improvement, both parties can work together to create a culture of accountability and success.”
  • Cultivate Relationships: Michaels believes that relationships are often underrated when it comes to turnover. She said, “Relationships are essential to our business and the enjoyment of being at work. Stay interviews provide an opportunity to strengthen relationships between employees and their managers, promoting collaboration and fostering a sense of belonging within the organization.”

Exit Interviews: A Fixture That May Fade or Morph?

Exit interviews have long been a fixture in the human resources world, but with the rise of stay interviews, will exit interviews fall by the wayside? Or do exit interviews still have a place, perhaps as a closing step? According to some, they hold value as a form of respect and courtesy for departing employees. They also serve as an opportunity for employers to gather insights into what people seek in the workplace and how to better meet those needs in the future.

What Do You Think?

As the workplace evolves, stay interviews and ongoing feedback models are increasingly gaining traction. However, the conversation around performance feedback must continue to find the best methods for nurturing talent, fostering growth, and driving success. What do you think about the role of exit interviews in today’s workplace? Are they becoming obsolete, or do they still serve a vital purpose? How can organizations incorporate both stay and exit interviews to create uplifting and supportive environments that help employees and companies thrive? Share your thoughts and join the conversation.



About Equiliem

Equiliem (www.equiliem.com) believes in empowering success. It’s our job to cultivate relationships that connect people and employers in a way that is inclusive, intelligent, and allows both to thrive. 

Across the U.S., leading companies in healthcare, government, light industrial manufacturing, professional services, and energy rely on us for their workforce solutions. Our recruiting and HR services include contract and direct hire staffing, Payrolling/EOR, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Managed Services.

Since 1995, we’ve helped shape our industry. Today, we continue to research, ask questions, and continuously enhance the candidate journey and client experience.