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Exit Interviews: Do You Know Why Your Employees are Leaving?

You may not have a serious problem with high turnover, and your actual numbers may fall in line with industry averages in your industry…but if you lose even one valuable employee for preventable reasons, you can and should be doing more to prevent this situation.

As the saying goes, your most valuable form of capital is your human capital, and great employees always add intangible value to your enterprise. So if there’s any resource at your disposal that might keep them happy, productive, and onboard, don’t ignore this resource, and don’t let great people slip away.

Find out what your teams want and need—and may be missing—by making sure every departing employee completes a detailed exit interview. And as you draft your interviews, keep these tips in mind.

1. Include a verbal and written component.

Have your HR manager sit down with the departing employee for a face to face conversation on his or her last day. But in addition to the meeting, make sure you also give the departing employee a chance to fill out a short survey or questionnaire that will capture her thoughts in writing.

2. Keep your interviews open and non-judgmental.

Recognize that your employee won’t be fully honest if she fears backlash in the form of a negative recommendation, and a less-than-honest review won’t help you.

3. Keep your interviews specific.

Encourage your employee to speak freely, but provide structure in order to target areas in need of improvement. For example, try questions like these:

“Is there anything we could have done, or any resource we could have provided, that would have convinced you to stay?”
“If you can link your decision to leave to a single event, can you describe that event?”
“Can you describe the primary appeal of your new employer and explain what they have to offer that you aren’t finding here?”
“What did you value/dislike most about working here?”
“Can you share your feelings about our management, leadership, and the company in general?”
“Can you share your feelings about your job? Were there specific aspects of your work that you liked/disliked more than others?”

4. In your written survey, include 1 to 5 ratings of specific metrics.

For example, ask your employee to provide an overall rating of the company’s leadership, culture, communication, integrity, etc.

For more sample exit interview questions and tips that can help you motivate your employees and reduce turnover, contact the staffing experts at PSU.