What are Exit Surveys and How they are Crucial for your Business

What are Exit Surveys and How they are Crucial for your Business

When an employee leaves your company, you should always be asking them one very important question: why? The reason might simply be for convenience. Maybe the employee is moving across the country with his or her significant other, or maybe the employee will be staying home to take care of children.

Though it is sometimes hard to think about, your employees might be leaving because they have a problem with the way the company is run and the managers and supervisors in charge. Still this is information you need to know if you want your company to grow and flourish.

The best way to get the tough information is to conduct exit surveys during the exit interview. Here is how to get started.

Benefits of the exit survey

When an employee decides to quit, you should hold an exit interview on his or her last day of employment. Here the employee has time to state exactly why he or she is leaving, voice any complaints and offer any useful feedback.

The exit survey is a much easier way to summarise the content of the interview. If you allow your employee to take the survey first and then discuss the results, you will have a better idea of why certain rankings were given. If there are any questionable grades or specific managers who are mentioned, your now-former employee can further discuss their complaints and praises.

Elements of a great exit survey

Your exit survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and should be comprised of easy rating questions (On a scale of 1 through 10, how much did you like your boss?) and more opened questions (Describe an incident your boss handled poorly and how you would have handled the situation).

The survey should hit several different sections and topics including:

Job responsibility: When your employee came into the company, he or she probably had a few expectations of the job. Of course, jobs change over time, but in some cases, the job described in the original advert is not at all what the actual job turned out to be. Here your employee can rate whether or not the job met most expectations.

Training and Orientation: The first few days of employment are crucial. Employees learn the ropes and form their first impressions of the company. This part of the survey is a great place to get feedback on how well HR is conducting orientation and how well managers and supervisors are training their new employees. Poor training often leads to poor performance so it is in your best interest to know whether or not your training needs help.

Working conditions: Hopefully, you keep your office or place or work in great condition. The buildings should pass all regulations, and you should be doing regular maintenance checks to replace carpets when they come loose or repair tiles when they crack. Dangerous working conditions needs to be addressed swiftly, and your employees might clue you into places where you could have missed.

Skill Development and Advancement: Employees take jobs hoping to learn new skills, improve on their existing skills and advance to the next level of employment, usually a supervising or management position. If your company offers little room for growth and advancement, you might lose talent at a faster rate. Employees will go to other businesses where they can excel and expand.

Supervision and Upper Management: Chances are your employee will have plenty to say about his or her boss. You want to avoid rants from angry employees so balance your questions about a boss’ performance with questions that demand examples. Anyone can say their boss is bad at their job, but you will get a better idea of where to improve if you have specific instances of supervisor failure.

Company Culture: How you feel your company’s culture might be very different from how your employers see it. Have your employees describe the cultures as they see it. Are people friendly with one another in the hallways and break rooms? If an employee must go to another department for help, are the other employees helpful or unwilling to help?


Getting good results

At the exit interview stage, most employees are likely to be apathetic and itching to leave. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to get honest answers from employees that you can work with. Need some pointers on how to get some great answers? Follow some of these tips:

  • Allow adequate time: Some employees feel rushed to finish the survey. Leave the room for ten minutes and allow the employee some privacy. This will give them a sense of security.
  • Give them a good reason to finish: A truly unhappy employee might refuse to finish the survey at all. Give them a good reason to complete the survey. You might have a small gift or a prize to offer employees and encourage them to finish the survey.
  • Allow complete anonymity and privacy: All of the information contained on exit surveys should be anonymous. Employees who are leaving the company on good terms sometimes feel fearful that writing anything negative on an exit survey might hurt their references within the company so they are not honest on the survey, or they do not take it too seriously. Assure all employees that the surveys will be 100 percent confidential.
  • Show how surveys affect change: Many employees feel that the surveys are a formality, that they go in a file and are never seen again. That should not be the case. You should have a few examples about how these surveys have changed the company. If employees feel as if they are heard, they will be more likely to respond well.

Businesses hate to lose great talent, but if a great employee is leaving, there is probably a good reason. Do not let employees leave without giving you some solid reasons on how you can improve and keep other great employees.