The revolving door

Welcome! Join us as we dive into the dynamic and crucial, yet often misunderstood and barely tolerated world of human resources.

WE spoke a few weeks ago about the growing trend of “stay interviews” and “employee check-ins” which are emerging as solutions to better understanding the employee experience and keeping talent engaged.

People quit their jobs all the time, and for a variety of reasons. Better opportunities, toxic cultures, bad managers, better pay, weak leadership, reordered priorities, life circumstances — and the list goes on.

It costs to replace a team member, but the cost of a high attrition rate is more than the dollar figure. It’s also about losing great talent, the possible negative effect on team morale, or the potential impact on customer confidence.

While you can’t make everyone stay, you can be proactive and help improve your attrition rates by taking the time to check in with your team. That way, you can understand and address underlying issues before they produce negative results.


What exactly is a stay interview?

Think of it as the opposite of an exit interview.

It’s a brief individual conversation with your team members.

So instead of asking why a team member who resigned is leaving, the stay interview focuses on:

• Those who are there and why they’ve stayed.

•What would motivate them to stick around long term.

•What could be better about their work experience.

•What could potentially cause them to leave the organisation.


While there are no hard and fast rules on how to conduct a perfect stay interview, these data-driven recommendations may help:

Tip #1

It should be a private, one-on-one conversation and the context should be very clear at the outset — that it is not a performance review or task-related meeting.

Tip #2

It should be done with all team members to avoid any misperception of favourites or some persons being more valued than others.

Tip #3

Your questions should always be clearly related to exploring the aspects of the job and career that drives the team member’s decision to stay. Some possible questions to ask include:

•“How have you been feeling about work in general?”

•“What parts of your job are you enjoying the most?

•“What part of your job do you enjoy the least?”

•“How have you been feeling about being able to balance work and home?”

•“What can I do differently to support you and the team?”

•“What would you do in my role to motivate the team more?”

•“Do you feel like you’re learning and growing here? If not, is there anything that can be done to improve your experience?”

Tip #4

Prepare, be fully present, and listen. Go into the conversation prepared and mentally ready. That means you’re ready to be fully engaged, to hear and to understand. It also means you don’t to rebut, explain or propose solutions at this time.

Tip #5

It should explore opportunities for improving. This means that it will require a degree of psychological safety so that team members feel free to speak openly, without fear of negative repercussions.

This also means that managers should have an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity to improve rather than becoming defensive with any challenging feedback that they receive.


Always bear in mind, however, that the trick to effective stay interviews is that you have to act on what you learn in order for them to be impactful.

Talk more soon,


My name is Carolyn Bolt. HR happened upon me seven years ago, and there has been no turning back from this challenging, critical, very rewarding and often frustrating matter of people since then. Reach me at

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