Org Assessment and Compensation Benchmark

Stay Interviews: 6 Questions to Ask Your Employees Regularly

Stay Interviews: 6 Questions to Ask Your Employees Regularly 

Employee Retention | Manager/Employee 1:1s | Stay Interviews

Competitive pay, half-day Fridays, and snack-stocked break rooms are company perks that catch your eye as a potential new hire. They certainly entice you while interviewing and for the first few weeks on the job. But what’s left to retain folks when the novelty wears off? It’s the company culture and, ultimately, an environment of trust and healthy work relationships.

We are social beings with basic needs, take Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, for example, workplace elements can be found in all layers. Starting with Physiological (you need $ to provide these needs), Safety (job security), Belonging (sense of camaraderie), Esteem (respect and recognition) and ending with Self-Actualization which is where the employee is supported by the foundational layers and operates at full-potential as a highly productive member of the team.

The key to cultivating an award-winning culture begins with rapport & trust. This takes a thoughtful approach and time, so don’t expect overnight results. Manager and employee 1:1s (or ‘“stay interviews”) are a great place to start, but there are crucial elements that make them successful.

Okay, okay – I’ve scheduled my regular 1:1 with my employees, now what? How do I know what to ask? How do I know if I am asking the “right” questions to get the feedback I need? 

Here is a list of foundational questions to get you started:

  1. How has your workload been over the past month? Are you feeling accomplished or are you feeling behind?
  2. What has made you feel the most excited to come to work?
  3. Do you feel like our organization is valuing the work you are doing? 
  4. Is there a particular skill that you have that is not being used in your current role? 
  5. Is there a specific part of the organization you would like to learn more about?
  6. How can I support you more as your supervisor? 

In addition, you must address career progression, this is huge for the current talent market. Employees want to have a plan and see growth opportunities with your company. Ask them what their goals are, and ask them if there are skills they would like to learn. When a leader helps employees reach their goals, everyone wins.  If you are a leader of leaders, empower them and give them the tools to be successful in this realm. 

Oftentimes, 1:1s are pushed back for one reason or another, most times it is because of cluttered calendars and the reschedule just doesn’t happen. But, here’s the risk of not successfully using this 1:1 time to build rapport & trust: Your good employees will leave, and your culture can be damaged. 

Get back to the basics and talk to your folks. Communication is a powerful retention tool. It is time to re-prioritize communication in the workplace. At Leath HR Group, we like to say “Instead of conducting exit interviews, host “stay-interviews”. 

Stay interviews image

Leath HR Group’s HR technology, WorkTok, is a great tool to use for “stay-interviews”. You are able to gather feedback with quick targeted two-way communication between manager and employee with write-ins or quick touch responses like:😁😑☹️.Get started at no cost for 30 days. Ask your employees what it will take to make them stay.

If you are in a need of a retention strategy or a modernized uplift to your current one, give Leath HR Group a call!


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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this! Question 1 will most likely get the response of feeling behind/overwhelmed. Personally, I’ve never had a job where I didn’t feel that and never had an employee who didn’t tell me the same (even if I would walk by their office and see them doing their nails, etc.)

    So, my question is this – what do you do with the response to that question? Is it better not to ask then to ask and have the employee not feel heard when the work load doesn’t lessen? Can you get them to love their job (at least not hate it) by addressing other aspects noted in your other 5 questions?

    1. Great question, Lori! We would suggest always asking! Break down the response with your employee. Perhaps you can ask what and how many projects are you working on/can you estimate how many hours a week you are working on each project? Those questions will allow the employee to really think about how much time they are spending on each project. If they are using their time elsewhere you *should* be able to pick up on that. Then, as a supervisor, you are able to help your employee reprioritize the workload! Maybe there are a few projects that can be moved off their plate or if a project isn’t needed for 3-4 weeks, hold off and focus on the top priorities.

      To answer your second question: “how to help them not hate their job?” Start by acting on the feedback they give to you! Many managers ask these questions and do nothing with the responses. If you actually listen and try to cater to their needs/wants they will build trust in leadership and ultimately become more satisfied with their work.

      For example, if you asked “Is there a specific part of the organization you would like to learn more about?” and they respond with “Yes, interested in learning about the accounting department”. See if there is room in your downtime to have them job shadow for the day or look into professional development courses that would help them tap into that interest! If you invest in your employees, they are more willing to stay.

      Hope that helps!

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