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Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Stay Interview Business Paper


Stay Interviews

  • An exit interview is a survey conducted with an individual who is separating from an organization
    • An organization can use the information gained from an exit interview to assess what should be improved, changed, or remain intact
    • More so, an organization can use the results from exit interviews to reduce employee turnover and increase productivity and engagement – thus reducing the high costs associated with turnover
  • What’s the inherent issue with exit interviews?
    • The feedback and information comes when its already too late and the person has one foot out the door
    • This is a big issue if you have high performers/stars / SMEs / or very niche experts that are valuable to your company
    • Studies have shown that the average cost to replace an employee that turns over is up to 33% of that person’s annual salary – so if a person was making $100k it would cost the company roughly $30k to replace that headcount
    • Lots of indirect costs including: recruiters salary as a ratio of time spent on the role/training to ramp the person up / dollars lost due to loss of productivity/fringe benefits/inflation / etc.
  • What’s our solution? What does better look like?

  • The stay interview is preferable to an exit interview because, in a stay interview, you ask current employees why they continue to work for your organization
    • The results of a stay interview give you knowledge about what the organization can improve now and how you can retain your remaining, valued employees. You also learn what your organization or department is doing well when employees identify what they like about their current job and employer
    • The stay interview is an opportunity to build trust with employees and to assess the degree of employee satisfaction and engagement that exists in a department or company
    • Experts recommend doing them at least once a year opposite the employee performance review, and twice in the critical period during which your company experiences attrition of new hires (for example the first 40 to 50 days for fast food workers, or 90 to 180 days for engineers).
  • Like all things in HR and organizational behavior, there isn’t one perfect exact way to do something, it is all contingent on the people, culture, company, etc.
    • Listed here are some generic questions that are common to a lot of stay interviews – it is important that practitioners think through what makes sense to ask for their specific organization:
      • What about your job makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning?
      • What did you love in your last position that you’re not doing now?
      • What bothers you most about your current role and responsibilities?
      • What can your manager do to better support you?
      • What motivates and demotivates you?
      • What does real meaningful recognition look like to you?
      • What would you like to learn still?


You are the HR Manager at a mid-sized tech company in the Los Angeles area. You’ve worked here for 3 years and have noticed a disparity in the tenures of employees as of late.

You have a population of very seasoned older employees that have been at the company averaging 4+ years and you have a population of less experienced younger employees that have relatively short tenures of around 2 years.

In recent, there have been talks of layoffs due to a potential takeover by an even larger company. The culture typically laid back and people seem to like each other and their managers. There’s no shortage of volunteers for charitable events on company time, but few employees “go above and beyond”.


What do we do/ask?! Your goal is to create a stay interview with an effective set of questions to really gain some insight into what your employees are thinking and feeling. Some question categories are shown below for you to reference. Make sure you think through what is most important for this company – it should be pertinent and make logical sense.stay interview


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