Employees leave for a variety of reasons. The exit interview plays a critical role in helping you understand what may have caused a departure. Just as importantly, you can use what you learn as intelligence to support your company’s overall retention strategy.
At Payroll Data Services, we’ve put together an Employee Retention Toolkit that includes actionable advice on this critical topic. As part of the kit, you’ll find practical strategies and insightful guidance, including this information related specifically to exit interviews.
Six exit interview tips.
- Create a comfortable environment: Conduct exit interviews in a private and casual environment to encourage candor.
- Keep data confidential: Make it clear to employees that their answers are confidential, and report responses so that specific statements cannot be identified.
- Consider an outsider: If budget permits, consider hiring a third-party interviewer, as employees may be more candid with someone outside of your company.
- Prepare interviewers: Whether you’re using a third-party provider or an HR team member, make sure they’re properly trained to conduct exit interviews.
- Use a “mixed method” approach: Gather quantitative data via surveys, but also ask open-ended questions to gain qualitative insights.
- Don’t ask leading questions: If employees give unclear answers, ask them to clarify. Don’t make assumptions when asking follow-up questions
Sample questions for 11 exit interview categories.
1. Reasons for leaving
- Why are you leaving your position?
- What circumstances prompted your job hunt?
2. New position
- What were the most important factors in deciding to take your new job?
- Will you be working in a similar role at your new company?
3. Compensation package
- Were you happy with the salary and benefits we provided?
- Why or why not?
- Do you think the salary increases were fair? Why or why not?
- Describe your relationship with your manager.
- Do you think you were given adequate support and recognition for your contributions?
- What could your manager do to improve? What does your manager do well?
5. Professional development
- Did you have all the tools and training needed to succeed in your role? Explain.
- Were you able to achieve any of your career goals while working here? Explain.
6. Work environment and operations
- How would you improve employee morale?
- What could we do to help people do their jobs more efficiently?
7. Job expectations
- Do you feel your job description accurately represented your responsibilities? Why or why not?
- Describe your workload. Did it match your expectations?
8. Employee communication
- Did you have sufficient tools and opportunities to communicate with your peers and supervisors? Explain.
- Do you feel your supervisor provided you with an appropriate amount of information related to company and departmental issues? If not, what could they have done better?
9. Leadership quality
- Did leaders within the company make you feel like a valued member of the team?
- Do you believe the company has a clear set of core values? What are they?
10. Suggestions for improvement.
- What could we have done to keep you here?
- What would you tell your friends about our company as a place to work?
- Do you have any additional comments or concerns you’d like to mention?
To learn more about exit interviews, as well as practical advice on employee retention strategies, be sure to download our Employee Retention Toolkit.