The Reality of Exit Interview Programs

For employees, exit interviews are perhaps the last interaction that they have with their employer. So, will the exit interview have a positive impression of your organization? Will the exit interview questions provide insight on how to retain employees or how to improve the remaining staff’s experience? To consider an exit interview program successful, leading organizations say “Yes.” While less than 75% of all US organizations conduct exit interviews, 91% of Fortune 500 companies conduct exit interviews. And how they conduct exit interview matters too. Instead of taking exit interviews as a formality as a “check the box” initiative, the highest performing employers correlate how employee exit interviews improve organizational culture, pinpoint “red flags”, and reduce turnover.

The Problem with Exit Interview Feedback: How to Conduct Exit Surveys

When most employees leave their company, organizations conduct exit interviews to find out why that employee chose to leave. This is a constant endeavor, because the primary drivers of employee turnover are a constant blind spot…UNTIL THEY SEPARATE. It is only at separation that an exit interview can deliver its potential. At any other time of employment, why someone quits is just guessing. This is why they are critical to predict staff turnover. Maybe she got an exciting job offer that was just too good to pass up, maybe he outgrew his current role. If people are leaving the organization, figuring out why is only possible when it happens. The most useful tool for doing so is the one that more leaders than ever now read: employee exit interviews.

While many companies don’t use exit interview software, most employers now collect exit interview data and don’t analyze the responses. Some analyze responses, but don’t share an exit interview analysis report with the senior leaders and front-line managers who can act on it. Exit interviews tend to get filed away because companies struggle to translate the information gathered from the interviews into change. With the escalating cost of employee turnover, and limited labor market to replace staff that quit, many companies use software to conduct exit interviews like ExitPro. The challenges this exit interview article addresses are overcoming the belief that “we already know why” people leave, or that “people won’t give honest answers”, or “we don’t have the time” and resources. And they are not sure what to ask or don’t see the reason why it is necessary “since people are gone anyway”.

The Solution for Exit Survey Questions

If an exit interview is communicated well, and the exit survey questions reflect their experience, it can accelerate meaningful change. People are honest about what is true to them and what they feel needs to be known. They likely already told their spouse, friends, or family their truth about working there. Exit interview responses reveal what doesn’t work inside the organization, pinpoint key challenges, and generate actionable opportunities for improvement. Exit interview analysis reports surface what to change, how to change, when to change, and where to change.

An exit interview provides a truthful evaluation of the work environment and organizational culture. Responses from exit interview reports are most often rolled into change initiatives on:

  1. Recruiting/Talent Acquisition
  2. Onboarding/Orientation
  3. Staff Development
  4. Manager Training Courses
  5. Work-Life Balance
  6. Compensation (Base Pay and/or Bonus)

An exit interview program can offer a wealth of information on the employer brand gaps. It gives employees a window into how programs inside the organization are working. Hearing from staff who can share honest employee feedback can help businesses understand what policies need to change or what procedures if updated would attract and retain staff. Exit interviews conducted by independent third parties, offer the most candid look at workplace culture, day-to-day processes, management style, and employee morale.

The best exit interview software gets a picture of the overall employee experience within an organization and identify opportunities to improve in 6 key areas: Connectedness, Appreciation, Productivity, Loyalty, Engagement, and Trust. No more excuses, “we already know why,” “there’s not time,”. Outsource exit interviews to a third-party or get the best exit interview software to streamline it. For over half of all employers, saving just ONE employee from quitting pays for itself.

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