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URMC / BHP / BHP Blog / July 2022 / Stay Interviews - Improving Communication and Job Satisfaction

Stay Interviews - Improving Communication and Job Satisfaction

By: Sarah Hanson, BSW

When employees decide to leave a job, an exit interview is completed, essentially a “post mortem”, determining at the end of their employment what happened, and what could have been done differently. In today’s current employment environment, compounded by COVID-19, job satisfaction is an important component of employee retention and engagement. Instead of relying on exit interviews to allow employees the opportunity for expressing feelings about their job and work environment, stay interviews allow a supervisor to gain rapport with employees, identify opportunities for enhancing and building on current strengths and what is going well. Additionally, stay interviews provide supervisors a feeling of empowerment in creating change and developing engagement with staff, while also ensuring employees feel they are valued and that their input matters. 

Robeano (2017) describes a stay interview as a proactive approach to employee engagement and job satisfaction that has been shown to be successful in retaining staff in multiple fields of work. She recommends that a stay interview be completed as a brief one-on-one meeting between a supervisor and their employee in which several key points are discussed:

  1. What motivates and frustrates your employee and potential solutions.
  2. How to help support the employee, and develop their professional skills in order to retain them.
  3. What the employee values about the organization.

Once a stay interview is completed, the supervisor will use this information to adjust workplace conditions as possible, and follow up with the employee to discuss improvement (Roberts, 2018). This shift in the nature of the supervisor-employee relationship allows staff to feel valued, heard, and as an integral part in the organization’s success, while also promoting meaningful and open dialogue, employment satisfaction for both supervisors and employees, and a reduction in the cost associated with employee turnover and recruitment (Roberts, 2018). 

Stay interviews help to uncover what really matters to employees; things like salary, benefits, supervisor-employee relationships, the nature and stressors of the work assigned or working environment, and things managers may not even realize are occurring (Roberts, 2018). While some of these issues are outside the supervisor’s control, the simple act of engaging in thoughtful conversations that encourage employee feedback can be a significant factor in retaining employees and reducing stress levels for managers and supervisors who are experiencing employee turnover and retention issues.

Being in a leadership position during these difficult times can take a toll on your mental health.  Stay interviews can be a useful tool in opening lines of communication with employees and developing opportunities for positive changes in the workplace.  However, it can be hard to promote wellness in others if you yourself are struggling.  If stressors are becoming overwhelming to your ability to cope and you are experiencing symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, please remember that Behavioral Health Partners, through Well-U, offers psychotherapy and medication management and is here to help. Call (585)276-6900 to schedule an appointment.


Roberts, M. (2018). Use of stay interviews as retention tool for key talent (Publication No. 996)[Master’s Thesis, Pepperdine University]. Pepperdine Digital Commons.

Robeano, K. (2017). “Stay interviews” to improve retention. Nursing Management, 48(9), 7-8doi: 10.1097/01.NUMA.0000522179.30887.38.

Baumgartner, K. (2015). Stay interviews: an exploratory study of stay interviews as a retention tool [Master’s Thesis, Indiana University]. Scholarworks.

Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, offering eligible individuals mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression. Our team of mental health professionals can accurately assess your symptoms and make recommendations for treatment. To schedule an intake appointment, give us a call at (585) 276-6900.


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