Employees who quit are a fact of life for business owners and their managers. For the owners and managers of some businesses, exit interviews can provide insight into why employees leave for another organization. While not every employee who quits can be persuaded to stay in their position, businesses can learn how to help reduce the number of employees who leave in the future through exit interviews. 

Exit Interview Concerns

One concern about an exit interview is that employees might not always be honest as to why they’re leaving. While an employee may say they are leaving for a position that is located closer to home or provides work flexibility with more remote time, for example, the real reason might be an abrasive manager or a recruiter who approached them through an agency.

Common Reasons Employees Leave

While some employees leave organizations due to a lack of advancement or dissatisfaction with their pay, one of the main reasons people leave is their manager’s workstyle – or lack thereof. Other reasons might include changing the employee’s responsibilities from the job description; requiring excessive overtime; or situations where an employee is not allowed to explore his or her creativity on work-related projects. Another cause for employees to leave their job centers on concerns about performance and professional development that get ignored by managers. If managers fail to pay attention, workers might become disengaged because of their inability to expand their skill set. Don’t be discouraged, though. There are some strategies employers can use to better communicate with new employees – and keep them around for a longer term.

Use an Employee Entrance Questionnaire

Using an employee entrance questionnaire helps organizations determine how well they’ve met promises they made to new employees by measuring the new employee’s perception of their role. Along with measuring how well an employee is in tune with a company’s mission and culture, it can determine if the role’s goals are articulated well, and if the level of training is in-line with the required responsibilities. Another benefit of giving this survey during the on-boarding process is it offers a higher chance of more truthful feedback. It also provides an opportunity to work with employees – individually and in groups – if the same compliant is reported by multiple people.

How to Improve the Workplace for Retention

While every workplace is different, there are some things most workplaces can implement to help retain talent. If the budget isn’t there for all managers, prioritize training for front-line managers and supervisors who can work with entry-level employees that are most likely to leave. Other ideas include mentoring workers to evaluate their performance, along with giving employees a chance to provide an honest assessment of their job satisfaction, especially in the first 90 days.

Considerations When Conducting Exit Interviews

One consideration to reduce the potential for emotional employees is to schedule the interview as soon as they give notice, instead of letting the employee stew over the reasons they want to leave. Another consideration when conducting exit interviews is to make sure a neutral third-party, such as an HR employee or manager from a different department, conducts the exit interview. If the employee’s direct supervisor/manager conducts it, an employee’s honesty will almost certainly be suppressed.

While there’s no magic bullet to retaining staff, using exit interviews and implementing that feedback with new candidates gives you the opportunity to reduce ongoing turnover.