According to a study done by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average cost to hire a new employee is $4,129 (SHRM, 19 May 2017). The average time to fill an open position is 42 days according SHRM. This does not include all the onboarding and training fees, the human capital to craft the job posting, posting the listing in multiple locations, scheduling interviews, conducting reference checks, putting together employee manuals, etc. With all this time and effort, we want to ensure that our new hires stay.

In the year 2000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking quit rates. Quit rates refer to people voluntarily leaving their job. The number of quits has increased every year for the past nine years. Employee retention is getting more difficult. With the unemployment rate low, employers are actively marketing to the employed talent to leave their current employers and discover if the grass is greener on the other side. Employees are searching and inquiring if another company is offering better benefits, more perks, and more pay.

Stay interviews can be a great tool to stay in touch with your current workforce. Think of them as happiness assessments. You are assessing the employee’s level of happiness within your company. Stay interviews should be conducted on an annual basis and should be very informal; you want the employee to feel at ease. If possible, conduct the interview over a coffee or lunch out outside of the office.

Keep the interview to a maximum of 15 questions. You want to elicit as much open dialogue as you can from each question. You could have as few as five questions. Example questions are: What gets you excited to come to work every day? What is your least favorite part of your job? Do you believe we are providing you with opportunities for growth?

For a complete listing of recommended stay interview questions or to learn more about conducting a stay interview of your employees, contact

Edited by: Sarah E. Perkins