Use Stay Interviews to Increase Employee Retention

Stay interviews are an effective way to increase employee retention, if implemented effectively.

The school year has begun, and human resources staff, campus administrators, and department supervisors have worked tirelessly to fill vacancies. Retention interviews are a practice that can help ensure that long-term and newly hired employees stay with the organization.

Defined stay interviews

Stay interviews are informal discussions between leaders and employees to assess job satisfaction and identify what makes the organization a good place to work as well as opportunities for improving the work culture. These conversations are an opportunity to improve relationships and build trust between employees. It is important to note that stay interviews should be conducted primarily with employees that the district wishes to retain, as opposed to those who have already decided to leave.

The benefits of conducting residency interviews include the following:

  • Shows the value of employee thoughts and feelings
  • Identify expectations
  • Open the lines of communication
  • Strengthens collaboration
  • Results in collecting valuable information

The best results can be achieved by keeping residency interviews structured but relaxed and conversational. This process also helps employees understand that management recognizes and values ​​their loyalty, cares about more than job performance, and is open to making changes that would bring them more satisfaction.

Conduct of residence interviews

There are different paths an organization can take to conduct residency interviews. They can be done in groups or individually. Who conducts the residence interview may also vary. HR can facilitate residency interviews, but other organizational leaders or direct supervisors can also conduct them. Employees can speak with available people on an interview schedule or more informally on a guided tour.

No matter how or who implements stay interviews, the questions asked should be predetermined and developed to find out what employees like or would suggest for the improvement of the organization. Here are some examples of questions to ask:

  • What do you enjoy most about coming to work every day?
  • What part of your job do you wish you could change?
  • If you left this organization, what would you miss the most?
  • How does the organization support your best work?
  • What additional resources could be given to help you improve your work?

During stay interviews, it is important to verbalize the goal so that the answers and information provided can guide future improvements. Creating a safe and comfortable environment will provide a positive experience for the interviewer and employee, resulting in the most helpful feedback. The information collected can be used to increase the number of reasons employees choose to stay, minimize any frustrating factors, and identify and address other major factors that trigger turnover.

After the conversation, the interviewer should express gratitude for the conversation. Employee time is valuable, so it’s important to show each employee your appreciation for their participation. Sending a “thank you” email that briefly identifies something specific mentioned can also be beneficial to the process.

Finally, a positive way to validate participation is to make improvements soon after the residence interviews have been completed. This will show the value of the process and potentially lead to ways to retain employees with whom you have invested the most time and resources. Even inexpensive changes could reaffirm an employee’s commitment and commitment.


Here are the factors to consider when conducting residency interviews:

  • Separate stay interviews from employee performance reviews
  • Focus on an employee’s work experience and needs
  • Address positive aspects and areas for improvement for the position or workplace and the organization as a whole
  • Communicate appreciation to employees who have contributed to improvements
  • Don’t dismiss or minimize an employee’s thoughts or feelings
  • Keep the process simple


Residence interviews are covered in the HR library topic, Employee Engagement (member login required). The Employee Relations section also includes sample retention conversation prompts that can be tailored to specific employee groups to further guide conversations.

Employee opinion surveys can also serve as a tool to find out what employees think about their jobs and working conditions and provide useful insights regarding employee engagement, recruitment, and retention.

Karen Dooley is Assistant Manager at TASB HR Services. Email Karen at [email protected].

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Tagged: “Employee Surveys”, Retention, “Teacher Quits”, “Teacher Shortage”

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