Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The stay interview has been frequently recommended lately as a retention tactic to help combat the high attrition numbers many companies are experiencing. The Great Resignation continues in full force in 2022, even if that means companies trade disenchanted employees with competitors. According to CNBC, 44% of workers search for new jobs currently.

For those not already familiar with the stay interview, this article by the Financial Times provides an overview. Many HR and Talent Development leaders advocate for it. The value behind stay interviews is not waiting until the exit interview to find out why your employees want to leave. Engage now to demonstrate proactivity and intentionality.

However, a growing chorus of voices articulate the challenges associated with this approach. If your company implements stay interviews, develop a plan to avoid these situations where it could backfire.


  • Need emotional intelligence to conduct these interviews effectively. Otherwise, it can come across as too aggressive, or the employee may not trust the manager’s intent
  • Can, at times, make the meeting about their own needs and not the employee
  • Often fail to act on what they hear (feedback received) and the employee leaves feeling discouraged – even more so than if the stay interview never took place
  • Should be connecting with their employees regularly anyway (outside of the performance management process). When a stay interview takes place, it must be conducted in a way that makes it feel different to the employee, so they understand the purpose with a different desired outcome
  • May not come to the discussion prepared to do a bit of selling to the employee around why they should stay with the current employer. This can cause the employee to re-think whether they should look elsewhere for the next job. The manager may need to do some convincing

For a list of recommended questions to ask during a stay interview, as well as guidance on how to best conduct one, check out this article from SHRM. Many companies find this a helpful tool in their employee engagement toolbelt.

If yours is one of them, please share your experiences. I’d love to hear from you!

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @betsywinkler1