Stay Interviews

In previous posts I have mentioned “Stay Interviews” and what a great tool they are as it relates to company culture. I thought I would take this opportunity to expand on this program and how powerful it can be to Workplace Happiness and Career Growth for employees.


As far as the traditional annual performance review goes, you can see in the graphic to the left that a good majority of employees don’t believe this to be a true indicator of their performance. According to an SHRM survey even “90% of HR professionals do not believe their companies performance appraisals provide accurate information”. It is clearly a time for change and reinvention of the process.

Transitioning to a “Stay Interview” model in many retail businesses will help in several areas:
(1) Employee Engagement
(2) Employee Retention
(3) Supporting Workplace Culture
(4) Employee Development and Growth
(5) Overall Improvement In Communication
(6) Team Productivity

What is a “Stay Interview“? A Stay Interview is a one-on-one dialogue performed quarterly to provide gauge individual employee interest/investment in their position, to find out how they feel about the company, and what key factors compel them stay.

These are scheduled meetings done with everyone in the company by their supervisor to ensure that companies are fulfilling their duty and obligation to each team member in performance growth and development and to ensure that they are keeping up with their professional development.

The following is how I have created the Stay Interview model for my business:

To start the process quarterly, I send out an opinion survey. I ask the participants to rate their senior leadership’s performance from 1 – 5 (5 = Exceeds Expectations; 1 = Below Expectations). Keeping this survey simple to encourage completion I request the following information:
(1) Do you feel that senior leadership acts in accordance with our values?
(2) Do you feel that a strong sense of team spirit is supported consistently?
(3) Do you feel that you are provided with enough developmental opportunity?
(4) Do you feel as though your contributions are consistently recognized?
(5) Do you feel as though healthy work relationships are supported by your supervisor?
(6) Do you feel as though our p2p recognition program is being fully utilized?
(7) How challenged and intrigued by your work are you today?
(8) Do we create an environment that you are excited to be a part of?

These questions change quarterly based on the feedback from the previous “Stay Interview” cycle. This helps to ensure that we are taking action on the feedback that we receive from the employees and improving any opportunity areas.

The actual “Stay Interview” is an in-person one-on-one that cover a variety of areas. The following are the questions I most frequently ask and that have been most beneficial for my business:
(1) As you make your way to work everyday, what are you most excited about?
(2) What is your favorite part of your job?
(3) What is your least favorite part of your job?
(4) What talents or skill do you have that we haven’t made the most of?
(5) How do you like working with the other employees that you interact with the most?
(6) What have you felt most proud of accomplishing recently?
(7) When is the last time (before this conversation) that you have been recognized for a contribution at work?
(8) What are you learning here? What would you like to learn more of?
(9) What opportunities for development would you like to have that go beyond your current role?
(10) If you could change one thing about your job, team, or company what would it be?

Great dialogue takes place around these questions so make sure to take notes to be able to follow up on the key items discussed by team members. Put together a plan in the next 7-10 days based on their feedback that will help them start working on their next area of development.

The “Stay Interview” needs to be a back and forth conversation and is an opportunity for the supervisor to speak to the employee’s next steps for growth. Coaching feedback should be done consistently during employee visits and normal conversation so this should not be a “performance appraisal” conversation.

The employee will only be as honest and forthcoming as the company’s cultural reality permits, so this type of program works best in a culture with true value placed on respect, interest in employee growth, communication, and recognition.

Stay Interviews have been much more effective in my retail business than traditional performance appraisal program models and have had a significantly positive impact on retention, happiness, growth, and an enormously positive impact on profit.

A great thing about the Stay Interview model is that even if this is not used in your company – it is something that you can institute for your area of responsibility that will have great impact on your business.


Founder and Editor in Chief of Excellence In Retail. Published writer. Frequent Podcast Guest. Speaker. Twenty year [oy vey!] retailer. I am passionate about leadership development and workplace culture. 646 246 1380 | [No Sales Contact, please} But it you want to call just to say hello or have a question - that's awesome!

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