Keeping Great Talent: The Stay Interview

April 28, 2016

While not a new concept, the Stay Interview hasn’t been adopted by larger companies until fairly recently. It doesn’t have to be formal like a performance review, in fact it’s probably better to be nothing like a performance review. The big goal is to prevent the employee from leaving, which is harder to do once an employee has given notice of resignation, or is at a latter stage of disengagement. The Stay Interview is something a perceptive manager can do when he senses a valued employee moving away. It can be done over coffee, but should have four basic parts.

Introduction and Appreciation

One of the big reasons employees become disengaged from their work is the belief that their work has little or no impact and isn’t valued. As a manager your primary job is to map out for your employees how their work connects to the bigger picture, and to ensure your top performers that their work is very valuable to the company’s overall strategy. To start the Stay Interview let your employee know they are a top performer and thank them for their time to take the interview.

Feedback Time

Not every employee is comfortable giving feedback, especially top performers who may think giving feedback is just code for complaining. Ask your employee what’s not working and what can be done to make things better. Prompt as much as you can.

What Drives You

Now it’s time to find out the conditions that inspire your employee to do really great work and find out what you can do to create those conditions. While not everything you hear might be actionable, try to do as much as you can to set the conditions right. It could be something very small like allowing someone to go to the gym at lunch.


It’s usually not just about money, employees who disengage sense they can no longer grow. In the Stay Interview, ask specific questions about skills they want to develop. This doesn’t have to be about a position or title they want, it has to be about developing talent.

Stay Interviews are incredibly meaningful and people (managers and employees) usually come out of them feeling a lot better. It’s a great way to make your top employees feel valued. They need to hear it from you in order to stay motivated. No one wants to replace a really good employee, and sometimes fifteen minutes and a cup of coffee is all it takes to prevent it.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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