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Every organization deals with turnover, but most don’t take the opportunity to understand the reasons why people leave and the overall impact on the business. By conducting exit interviews, you not only identify reasons people are leaving but also make the changes needed to retain your valuable staff.

People often feel more comfortable giving candid feedback on their way out because they know what they say no longer affects their standing at the company. Concentrate your efforts on those employees who’ve been with you for a considerable amount of time and are high level performers.

Suggested questions:

  • What prompted you to begin looking for a new opportunity? Why did you choose the one that you did?
  • What did you like best and least about the job?
  • How do you feel the job has changed since you were hired?
  • Do you feel you were given the tools and resources you needed to succeed? If not, what was missing?
  • Are there any individuals who you feel were particularly helpful to you? Harmful?
  • Do you feel your achievements were recognized during your time with the company?
  • How do you think we could improve the employee experience?
  • Is there anything we could have done to change your mind about leaving?
  • Would you recommend this company to a friend? Why or why not?

Have someone other than the employee’s direct supervisor conduct the interview–HR, a second-level manager, a supervisor from another team, or even an outside consultant like STM. If the reason they’re leaving involves a poor manager, then you need to know and it’s unlikely they will tell that person directly.

It’s important to collect and analyze the results. It’s equally important (and less common) that the results are shared and action is taken. Your employees, past and present, need to know that what they share with you is being heard and utilized to drive improvement within your organization. Engaged and appreciated employees are more likely to contribute and less likely to leave.

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