HR Acuity Logo
NEW DATA: Eighth Annual ER Benchmark Study Just Launched
Benchmark icon

How to Use the Exit Interview Process to Retain More Employees

Aug 22, 2012
Deb Muller

When an employee resigns, it is often left up to the Human Resource manager to conduct a brief exit interview to gather feedback from the departing employee. While this can be somewhat awkward even for the most seasoned HR professional, the exit interview can unlock potentially valuable information that may be used to promote an employee retention strategy. In fact, many HR professionals take this exit interview for granted, not understanding the intrinsic value it can have to engage and retain staff members left behind. Instead of viewing an exit survey as a negative aspect of managing a busy workforce, look at this as a golden opportunity to make changes that can affect your retention efforts. Read on to learn ways to make the most of the exit interview, from an HR pro who has been on the other side of the desk many times.

How to Maximize the Exit Interview Process

When preparing to conduct an exit interview, make sure you take the time to dig deeper into each individual’s employment history and achievements. A company that experiences frequent turnover could have internal issues that need addressing, yet current employees are fearful to reveal. A departing employee is more likely to talk about the true issues if they are treated with respect, have their privacy protected, and are assured what they say is honored.

It has been said that employees do not leave companies; they leave managers. In some cases, you may be able to retain an employee who has given notice due to a personality conflict with a manager, or a breakdown of the team structure. Since it has been estimated to cost two-thirds of an employee’s salary to replace him or her, it is in your business interest to try to convince the employee to stay on board for an alternate opportunity.

Be sure to have a standard list of exit interview questions that you can turn to as you go through this process. This list may include some general questions about the job experience, but it is critical to ask about some of the specifics that led to the decision to resign. By identifying these factors, you can start narrowing down ways to provide more incentives and benefits that will be meaningful to employees. These actions support employee retention.

What to Do with the Data from Exit Interviews

The data that you gather during exit interviews should never just sit in the resigned employee’ personnel file. Take the time to track exit interview information from all exit interviews to help shed light on patterns in your staffing history. Over time, you are likely to notice seasonal shifts and industry peaks in your staff numbers – an opportunity to focus on group recruitment efforts and employee referral programs. It can also help you to better understand the work experience of your employees so they can be developed into more productive team members through ongoing training and support.

To use the information gathered from exit interviews, maintain employee records using a secure exit interview and case management system. Use this resource to periodically analyze your company’s efforts to assess the overall quality of work life and identify opportunities to improve retention and employee engagement. If you are interested in learning more about the HR Acuity Exit Interview solution, send me an email or visit our website.

Deb Muller
Deb Muller is the CEO of HR Acuity, employee relations case management and investigations software that combines documentation, process, and human expertise so organizations can meet the challenge of managing employee relations in the modern world.

More Articles on Documentation