How Stay Interviews Can Reduce Employee Turnover Rates

employee retention rates

How Stay Interviews Can Reduce Employee Turnover Rates

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, four and a half years is the median amount of time employees stay with their company today. That’s a grim statistic, considering the amount of time you spend training employees. It’s even more dismal when you consider the fact that some of the employees who leave after four and a half short years may be your best performers. It begs the question: Can management do more to boost retention?

While these employee turnover rates may indeed be part of a national statistic reflective of today’s changing business landscape, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve retention within your own company. One highly effective method for doing so is the stay interview.

An Alternative to Exit Interviews

Entrepreneur contributor Curtis Odom calls the stay interview an alternative to exit interviews. Odom considers the exit interview ineffective, due to the fact that the employee is already gone, and any effort made to retain him/her is too little, too late by that point. When you use stay interviews, however, you’re take a proactive approach and targeting employees who could be considering a departure from your company. This valuable tool encourages retention by showing employees that their concerns are valuable and will be acted upon.

Some Basics for Mastering the Stay Interview

HR expert Dr. John Sullivan has been advocating stay interviews for more than 20 years, and he knows some valuable tips for reducing employee turnover. Specifically, Sullivan finds that in order to retain new employees, managers should conduct stay interviews at four and eight months. For all other employees, it’s best to hold stay interviews during a slower business period once per year.

The questions you ask employees during your stay interviews will depend on your organizational needs, but it’s best to keep it simple and take a two-pronged approach: ask questions about their favorite aspects of the job, as well as their least favorite. This will provide an overview of what’s working and what’s not, so that you can begin to make efforts that support the retention of your most valuable high performers.

Fight the Employee Turnover Rates

In 2014, the total turnover rate for all industries in the U.S. was 15.7%, while voluntary turnover was 11% (source: Compensation Force). Clearly, the majority of turnovers happen because employees are seeking better opportunities elsewhere.

How can you provide your employees better opportunities right within your own company? There’s no way of knowing the answers to that question without asking your employees. In doing so, you may discover some surprising insights that can help you retain your most valuable business asset – your people. Thus, conducting stay interviews regularly is one of the most effective ways to take a proactive approach to retention.

HRsoft makes stay interviews automated, simple, and aligned with your existing business process through their Stay Interview Software, STAYview. To learn more about how you can strengthen your employee satisfaction and fight turnover, feel free to take a look at our quick video demo.


HRsoft is a leading provider of strategic talent management software that improves manager effectiveness and business results. Our full suite of cloud-based HR software solutions includes applicant tracking software, compensation planning software, total rewards software, stay interview software, performance management software, and content management software. To learn more about our Stay Interview Software, STAYview, click the button below!

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