Stay Interviews Help Employee Attitudes & Retention Rates
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Stay Interviews Can Help Companies Raise Employee Attitudes and Retention Rates

Posted on February 1, 2024 by Grace Hill

Indian male manager listening to female latin employee at office meeting

HR departments find that “stay interviews” – those conducted with current employees to gauge the gratification they see in their positions – can be the perfect antidote to exit interviews.

Given the surge in job-hopping, particularly post-pandemic, companies say that stay interviews are helping to reduce turnover while increasing production and satisfaction among workers.

As such, best practices have come to incorporate light “stay questions” into regular one-on-one meetings. The result is happier employees who are eager to engage and contribute.

Managers, too, are becoming more effective because they know what employees care about personally and professionally and what motivates them to remain with the company.

Discussions such as these can lead to exciting new assignments, new learning paths, or just improved relationships with employees and their direct managers, which impacts retention.

Formal sit-downs can come off as rigid and detached. Instead, managers should create moments for listening, allowing employees to voice their feelings, which helps them feel valued within the organization.

Doing this can diffuse an employee’s thoughts, such as “If I leave today, no one would care,” and get everyone working together again. Exit interviews are more for the employer, but stay interviews benefit both sides.

While exit interviews can provide important information and shed light on issues, they often produce nothing more than canned responses (so as not to burn bridges) and very little to improve company culture.

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Stay Interviews + Employee Surveys = A Powerful Combo

Whether stay interviews are conducted in person, virtually, or via electronic measures comes down to several factors, including the company’s current employment model and employees’ job structure. Regardless, stay interviews are a powerful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Maritza Riquelmy-Romero, VP of Human Resources at Richman Property Services, said her company has been conducting stay interviews for over three years. 

“Once a recruit is on board, our goal is to [intentionally reconnect] between their 60- and 90-day mark,” said Riquelmy-Romer. “After that, the philosophy with stay interviews is to get feedback from associates at the six-month point and annually.”

Employee surveys, particularly when combined with stay interviews, are another powerful tool for listening and learning because they provide employees a place to share unfiltered feedback. After all, some people will say things on a survey that they may not want to say directly to their manager. It’s a two-pronged approach that yields excellent results. 

Increasing employee engagement starts by creating an environment where people feel like their opinions are valued and trust that management will take action. And with a robust survey program in place, you can effectively measure what is working (or not working) in your company. 

The timely information gleaned from survey results gives leaders important feedback that leads to more fruitful stay interviews. When employees then see their leaders making changes, where appropriate, as a result of feedback shared, you build employee loyalty, improve productivity, and protect your bottom line. 

Because turnover in the multifamily housing industry has always been high, stay interviews have helped Richman Property Service in four important ways:

  • Becoming more proactive in understanding employee concerns. 
  • Identifying potential areas of improvement.
  • Addressing issues proactively to increase retention.
  • Gain feedback that allows us to improve. 

“We want to make sure we are asking the right questions so that when an associate does decide to leave Richman, we understand why,” adds Riquelmy-Romero. “Also, the feedback gives our regional managers the opportunity to take a pointed look at their communities and possibly provide feedback to the community manager.”

Richman Property Services started with a performance management system that does evaluations and one-on-one meetings, but they added stay interviews to that platform.

Create Comfort and No Fear of Retaliation

Stacey Berk, Founder & Managing Consultant, Expand HR Consulting, Rockville, Md., tells the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) that most employees are eager to share their feedback and want to see positive changes in certain policies and protocols, greater flexibility with their schedule, and of course, compensation and benefits.

“The key with stay interviews, regardless of how they are carried out, is for HR and managers to ensure that employees can share their thoughts comfortably without fear of retaliation.”

Tips on Conducting Stay Interviews

Managers can be trained to understand why employees stay and what might cause them to leave. One company provides its managers with materials on what is expected from the meetings and prompts them on talking points. 

Some common stay interview questions include:

  • What do you look forward to when you come to work each day?
  • What do you like most or least about working here?
  • What keeps you working here?
  • If you could change something about your job, what would that be?
  • What would make your job more satisfying?
  • How do you like to be recognized?
  • What talents are not being used in your current role?

Managers can then use these starting points to go in and make the discussion their own. One trickle-down effect is even more frequent “How are you doing?” conversations among departments.

Just remember, these meetings are not intended simply to get answers. Additionally, they shouldn’t just be about the manager, pay, or performance or involve training or coaching.

Find out how Grace Hill’s Employee Engagement Program for multifamily and CRE organizations. can help you capture ongoing, actionable feedback from your employees.

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