Done right, an intelligent exit interview strategy can offer you a wealth of information on your staffing needs.
I know…you don’t do exit interviews. Well, despite the escalating cost of employee turnover, most companies don’t. The common reasons are:
- I already know why people leave
- People don’t give honest answers
- We don’t have the time
- I am not sure what to ask, or
- Who needs them? The people are gone anyway.
Exit Interview Return on Investment
“Turnover is a symptom, not a problem. Employers do not have a turnover problem; they have morale problems, training problems, manager problems, that lead to turnover. Once you know turnover’s root causes, you stop wasting time and money on things that don’t matter.” – Chason Hecht, CEO, Retensa
None of the aforementioned reasons equate to the tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, a company can save on employee turnover, absenteeism, and productivity from performing exit interviews. Losing 1 employee can cost a company a minimum of 50% up to 300% of an employee’s annual salary. So exit interviews, which cost $30 to $150 each, provide one of the highest sources of Return on Investment (ROI) you can get from an employee program.
Done right, you can gather new solutions to recruitment, management, orientation, as well as how to best meet the needs of the person filling their position. By constantly evaluating and renewing the workplace you’ll decrease hiring and training costs, and reduce employee turnover.
What Makes a Good Exit Interview Strategy?
Exit interviews are a formal set of questions asked of departing employees that serve as a barometer for the current work environment. The best information will be from soon-to-depart employees who feel comfortable expressing how they feel, and trust those they are speaking with to listen confidentially. Whoever administers the exit interview, they should query five key areas:
- Reasons they joined/liked working there (e.g. questions about salary, work environment, administration, what did they like most about their job, etc.).
- Reasons they are leaving (same as above, plus management relationship and what they liked least).
- Suggestions for future changes (e.g. questions about training a replacement, challenges, improving communication, different reward system, etc.).
- Verifying the understanding between employer and employee (e.g. concerning insurance, materials/supplies, confidentiality agreements, keys, etc.).
- Open Ended Opportunity. Let employees be expressive, it provides closure. People don’t quit a firm to play in the NFL. Ex-employees stay in the industry after leaving to be a potential client, vendor, partner, or competitor. In every case, it’s a good investment to part on good terms. You can always use a strategic partner and you don’t want to add emotional fuel to your competition.
Upon receiving the information, the provider should organize it into a format you can easily use to make real-world changes. Once several departures have provided similar responses, it is time to make a change. Implementing the change is where a company reaps the benefits of exit interviews. It shows your existing employees the company values their opinions and works to provide solutions. Exit interviews provide suggestions and propel change, and that gives the business the feedback needed to move forward.
Exit Interview Outsourcing
Finally, a word about outsourcing…During in-person interviews, especially with the boss, employees will dodge an honest response to keep a good reference. As a result, a company will not receive helpful insights on how to improve, and may be falsely led to believe their company has no areas to improve upon. For this reason anonymity in exit interviews is crucial. Outsourcing exit interviews ensures honesty and saves money. A good third party can get your employee to open up, which is much harder to achieve if conducted within the business.