Best practices tell us to keep the main body of questions during stay interviews small, with room for follow-up probes that truly get to the heart of employee/supervisor relations. For each of the five main questions in a good stay interview, there are important follow-ups that provide critical information.
What do you look forward to during your commute?
This question leads employees to think positively about what they look forward to on their way to work. Follow up by asking about specific images. Even asking about the mode of transportation can help, as it allows supervisors to engage with employees on future workdays by asking about a train delay or traffic jam. Identify which things employees most look forward and make sure those things stay in place.
What are you learning?
People like to feel like they are learning and growing with their jobs. Further probes in this area includes questions about skill building goals, which reminds employees that there is and opportunity to grow. Asking which skills are vital to their positions gives employees an opportunity to feel proud of their work.
What things make you stay?
This important question and probing follow ups make employees think about positive aspects of their jobs. During follow-ups supervisors should dig further if employees have generic responses like, “Everyone needs a job.” This is a great opportunity to ask, “Why this job?”
When did you last consider leaving and why?
Follow-up questions in this area should be direct and address things such as whether employees feel the original issues are still affecting them and whether they have arisen again. Be sure to probe for specifics about situations rather than accepting things like, “I just don’t feel like anyone would care if I left.” At the end of these follow-up questions, employees should be clear that their supervisors will be there for them in the future.
What can I do to make things better?
Follow up by asking them about your interactions. This tells you which employees feel like you don’t trust them if you spend too much time together, and which feel their jobs are in jeopardy if you aren’t together enough.
Follow-up probes should also focus on employees’ opinions about the supervisor’s approach, ability to relay clear instructions, and questions regarding whether employees feel the supervisor truly cares about keeping them.
While the main questions in a stay interview make a great base, it is the follow-up probes that make employees feel engaged, and that make them feel the supervisor isn’t simply reading from a required list of questions. This can make the difference between keeping or losing good employees.