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What Is a Stay Interview? Definition and How It Works

Employees stay at organizations for different reasons than they leave, and nearly every organization is unique in the reasons employees stay.1 Therefore, Stay Interviews are common tools used in building effective employee retention strategies1. We have defined and detailed the many elements of conducting effective Stay Interviews in the Essential Guide to Conducting Stay Interviews, and in this post, we’re answering the simple question:


What is a Stay Interview?


So just what is a stay Interview? They are one-on-one interviews conducted with current employees by an outside party to understand the employees’ intent to stay or leave the organization, and why. When conducted in this manner, Stay Interview data is systematically collected and used to predict and prevent turnover amongst targeted employee segments within an organization.


Stay Interviews are routinely defined as internal one-on-one conversations between a manager and their direct report.2 Formal, consistent and high-quality one-on-one conversations between managers and employees are critical to driving high retention and engagement. However, data is seldom formally captured for analyses, and it is highly possible that true intents and root causes aren’t revealed because employees aren’t being honest with their managers. Supplementing these regular conversations with high-quality Stay Interviews conducted by a third-party is critical to developing a strong retention strategy.


Typically, Stay Interviews are used to assess intents of groups of employees who may be a higher risk of turnover or who are of higher-value to the company. These segments of employees could include top talent employees, high-potential employees, those employees in succession plans, highly-skilled technical workers and more.


It’s critical to understand the definition of Stay Interviews to ensure that you are conducting them in a manner to be a part of an effective retention strategy. To learn more about conducting effective Stay Interviews to help increase prevent turnover and increase retention, download the Essential Guide to Conducting Stay Interviews.



  1. Fynes, Jamie M. and Sears, Lindsay E. “Most Important Employee Reasons for Staying Across Length of Intended Stay: An Analysis of Qualitative Data from Employee Interviews.” Workplace Insights, vol. 1, 2017.
  2. Kaye, Beverly, and Sharon Jordan‐ “Stay interviews: The leader’s role in engaging and retaining talent.” Leader to Leader 2011.59 (2011): 8-13.