Dramatically reduce employee turnover with exit interviews
Employee turnover is something that most businesses experience. When employees leave it's costly for your business. Naturally, most employers strive to become places where employees don't just come and go. In this article, we are looking at how to leverage exit interviews to reduce employee turnover.
Traditional ways to reduce employee turnover
Over the years, HR pundits developed many tools to help retain talent. If you seek advice on how to reduce turnover, you are likely to be recommended the following:
- Recruit employees that are willing to commit
- Offer more competitive compensation
- Establish an appraisal system that works
- Accelerate career paths
- Create a more flexible workplace
- Improve onboarding
- Communicate accurate expectations
- Improve engagement
Frequently, we jump the gun when trying to address employee turnover. We take the medicine without identifying the disease.
Don't skip the analysis
Over the last decade, consumer-facing products advanced rapidly by adopting a customer-centric design process. Most companies have realized that they must involve the customer to solve the customer's problem. It should come as no surprise that the same applies to employee retention.
To understand what makes employees leave you must interview employees who decided to leave your organization.
Do not confuse employee satisfaction with employee retention
When analyzing what makes employees leave, companies can not rely on annual employee satisfaction surveys. Doing so is a major pitfall when trying to figure out how to achieve better employee retention. Optimizing for retention and satisfaction are two entirely different tasks that require different data.
Querying employees who have left your organization will likely yield dramatically different results from your employee satisfaction surveys.
Use exit interviews to improve employee retention
A fantastic tool to find out what made someone leave your organization are exit interviews. Exit interviews can be conducted in three different ways.
- Conduct the exit interview in person
- Conduct the exit interview via phone/video call
- Conduct an exit survey
A study by the Harvard Business Reviews from 2016 revealed that three-quarters of all companies conduct exit interviews with at least some of their employees. However, most exit interview programs fail because of poor data quality, lack of data aggregation, or an inability to analyze exit interview data permanently.
How to set up an effective exit interview process
Creating an insightful offboarding process is hard work. We have learned the following when it comes to setting up exit interview processes that increase retention dramatically.
- Create thoughtful and profound exit interviews.
Unfortunately, creating great exit interviews is harder than to ask why someone left your organization. You have to go into detail and query all aspects of employment.
- Standardise the questions
To analyze the data effectively, be methodical about conducting exit interviews. Ask standardized questions.
- Get it right the first time around
Changing your exit interviews can render all collected data worthless. Put sufficient effort into the process and get help if needed.
- Get people involved
Be sure to have a process in place to distribute the data within the organization. Try to make the data accessible to as many stakeholders as possible.
- Offer value in return for the data
Some employees are hesitant to take part in exit interviews. You must engrain the process in your companies DNA. Also, it can be valuable to offer an incentive to the interviewee.
- Use a modern survey tool
Conducting the exit interview should be as simple as possible. If you choose to conduct exit interviews with a survey tool, be sure that it is optimized for mobile devices and offers a good user experience.
Make the best of an employee’s departure
Departing employees are just as much a part of everyday life as new ones. Businesses and people change. Structured exit interviews can help you to make the best of the situation.
Partwell is a service that helps companies build delightful offboarding programs by leveraging exit interviews and alumni rehiring. Contact us for more info.